Bog Walk


Bog Walk at Boerner Botanical Gardens   "The bog garden was my favorite spot
to escape when things got rough in the office. I could go down, stand on the bridge and meditate. It's the best bird sanctuary in the world, and you meet the nicest people there."


John Voight,
Director Emeritus
Boerner Botanical Gardens


W
ebster's dictionary defines a bog as "...an inadequately drained area rich in plant residues, usually acid in reaction...." The Bog Garden at the Boerner Botanical Gardens is really a "fen", because the soil there is alkaline, inasmuch as the underlying base is limestone. But whether you call this garden a fen or a bog, it is a green blanket of serenity and beauty.

No formal design is evident here. Instead, it seems like mother nature alone took over and created a magical, mysterious world. The area is delightful in spring with golden marsh-marigolds and skunk cabbage in bloom. Migrating birds stop here, and you'll see hundreds of warblers. As the season progresses, the skunk cabbage leaves grow to huge lush capes, and the area takes on a jungle-like appearance. Many varieties of birds are attracted all summer by the seeping water, cool soil, and abundant food supply of insects.

The Bog Garden catches water running off from other parts of the gardens, and is naturally conducive to the growth of plants that thrive in saturated soil. We have also played a role, planting tamaracks, marsh-marigolds, willows, river birch, cedars and other plants that like wet conditions. Skunk cabbage, red twig dogwoods, wild raspberry, jewel weed, and Arborvitae also took root in this damp environment.

Today the Bog Garden is an intriguing place, especially for children, who love to look down from the bridge that crosses the garden to see the variety of plants and wildlife that live here. Adults may also want to ponder what Aldo Leopold, the famous Wisconsin naturalist, wrote about another bog area in Wisconsin: "A sense of time lies thick and heavy on such a place."

Just to the east is the rock garden. Go to the next garden


Boerner Botanical Gardens
9400 Boerner Drive, Hales Corners, WI 53130
(414) 525-5600