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By Whiddie

United Kingdom Gb

I live on the Isle of Mull. I've got an acre of garden that's peat based. Boggy and soggy would best describe it. On a hill large pond at bottom. Burns on either side. Would love a garden that I could walk in without getting wet feet. What would you do?



Gosh, Whiddie, that sounds like a major piece of work you have there. It could be that the burns will cancel out any structural work that you do, but it sounds as if deep and numerous land drains or deep stone-filled sumps might improve your land, if not cure the problem. I can't see them staying unblocked for ever, though. Could you put raised stone walkways in? is there a solid rock base under all the sogginess? My father had an underground stream in his garden, and the riparian authorities suggested deep soakaway drains, which worked quite well until roots found their way in and blocked them. I can't see something like willows surviving on Mull! You aren't going to get a conventional garden, I wouldn't have thought, but bog plantings can be very attractive. I shall be very interested to see what other advice comes your way. Good luck!

27 Oct, 2011


Thanks so much for your ideas. Raised pathways sound great. I've been considering the stone filled sumps idea and my brother (a builder) thinks it's probably the best option. A neighbour has actually gone into his garden with a digger and taken out 'all' the peat - gone down about 5ft. That seems a bit drastic and not very environmentally friendly!

Willow does survive up here as long as you can keep the deer out (they love it!). The plot is being refenced next week so I might be able to get going on some planting. I'll keep you posted.

27 Oct, 2011


Gosh, The neighbour seems to have gone a bit far - is he going to replace the peat once he has put drainage in place? Would it survive? That seems an appalling waste! I'm heartily pleased to hear about the willows growing so well - I'm not surprised about the deer, though - they seem to eat almost anything: the more expensive the better.! We've had to fence the whole of our orchard in against them and wild boar, but I daresay if they were desperate, they'd get in somehow.

27 Oct, 2011


Why not 'lazy beds' Whiddie, such as the old highland crofters used to use? These were formed by digging parallel channels in the peat and growing on the raised area between. The beds were about 2.5 meters across. For an ornamental garden I don't see why you have to have parallel beds, you could use your creativity to vary the shapes of them. Use the stone in the channels, which could be quite wide, and use them as paths - probably lay Wavin Coil perforated drainage pipe first. I am glad that I don't have this issue with our own garden but it sounds to be an interesting challenge.
Plants? There is a whole range of ericaceous plants that would love the peat.

27 Oct, 2011


Thank you all so much for your ideas. My neighbour - as far as I know - dumped the peat (criminal). I'm looking forward to choosing plants for this garden. Gooseberries, and Blueberries love this soil and that's just for a start but before any thoughts of planting I need to sort this soil out.

27 Oct, 2011

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