Friday, 10 May 2013

Soggy Feet: Step 2 - Researching Options

It's a soggy, rainy day today, so I thought it a good time to publish my second post regarding the areas in my yard affected by heavy groundwater.  By early May, it had mostly dried up on the surface, but the soil is still quite moist and puddles still exist in many spots.  After much thought, I have considered the following options so that I can effectively use this part of the property:

1) Storage:  Every large yard needs an area to put "stuff".  I have a lot of stuff.  It seems logical that I should put my stuff where I can't grow anything.

 2) Annuals:  The groundwater mainly affects areas in the springtime so that most perennials are not suitable. So I can just wait until the area dries up and put in plants that won't be around next spring.

3) Raised Beds:  Raising soil above the level where the water settles means that I can potentially plant perennials.

4) Vertical Gardens: Grow up instead of down?  There are plenty of fun options for growing plants vertically in pots or other containers so that the ground does not come into play.

5) Hardy Perennials:  This has required the most research. What perennials can withstand the cold winter temperatures in Eastern Ontario, but can also handle the wet, bog-like conditions in the spring?  I found this website - Toronto Zoo Urban Outback - which provides a list of Native Ontario herbaceous plants that are "happy with a spring flood time" and generally like wet soil.
  • Ferns: Not sure if I have the right kind, but there are certainly some ferns scattered around the property which I can likely transplant; ferns are very pretty, so definitely an option;
  •  Swamp Milkweed:  I have milkweed in a back area of the yard (another wet area) so will look into ways of moving some of these around;
  • And lots of pretty flowers including Canada Lily, Cardinal Flower, Marsh Marigold, etc.  I just need to see what I can locate for seeds or seedlings in this category.

I suspect I'll do a mix of some of the above options, and look forward to providing an update over the next months.