There is a new bog garden at the Robertson Memorial Library Garden on Millersville’s campus. Dr. Christopher Hardy, along with alum, Ian Fitzhugh and current student, Duncan Lynn, worked on the pond.
“The addition of the bog garden to the Robertson Memorial Library Garden is to provide a unique aesthetic component to the garden,” Lynn explains, “It will also develop a self-sustaining artificial ecosystem, as well as provide a live educational tool to enhance learning about the flora of such a unique family of plants.”
Lynn is a senior biology major, with concentrations in botany and anthropology. Fitzhugh is a volunteer alumnus for the project and graduated in Fall 2020.
Lynn and Fitzhugh explained that the process of building a bog pond can be complex. With the introduction of new plants, the environment must be appropriate to keep them maintained.
“In order to build the bog garden, we needed to build a hardscaping retaining wall, shape the terrain of the pond with topsoil, line the pond with vinyl, and create an artificial ecosystem that will be conducive to growing carnivorous plants,” Lynn says.
“These plants occur in a habitat that has a specific soil composition that is very different from the soils found in the garden,” Fitzhugh adds, “Therefore, the bog garden consists of a dramatically raised retaining wall to protect the bog from salt intrusion during the winter and any other potential nutrient washout from rain.”
The pond is located between the rosids and asterids sections of the garden, two distinct types of flowers. One of the biggest aspects of this project is the inclusion of carnivorous plants in the garden.
“I founded the Millersville University carnivorous plant collection back in 2015 with the intention of creating something that few universities have,” Fitzhugh says. “The scope of plants that the botany department can work and teach with has increased because of the carnivorous plant collection.”
Both students say they are grateful for the chance to work on the project. “This project has been a fun way to contribute some of my own work to Millersville University outside of academics, learn about a fascinating group of plants, and be involved in a project that is invested in public education,” Lynn says.
“This will essentially be one of the crowning jewels of the carnivorous plant studies here at Millersville University and a predictor of great works to come by many future students,” Fitzhugh adds, “I hope you will enjoy it as much as we have.”