The Wetlands of Distant Hill

“Hope and the future for me are not in lawns and cultivated fields, not in towns and cities, but in the impervious and quaking swamps.” 

Henry David Thoreau in Walking

We have a diversity of wetlands at Distant Hill Gardens including a floating bog, a red maple swamp, a small black ash swamp and numerous vernal pools.

The two acre wetland at Distant Hill Gardens, once a swimming pond years ago, is slowly becoming a floating bog.

Wetlands are defined as land area that are saturated  with water, either permanently or seasonally. This gives rise to characteristic vegetation that is adapted to unique oxygen starved soil conditions. Wetlands are usually classified, according to soil and plant life that grow in them. 

 

The Types of Wetlands at Distant Hill

  • Marsh - a wetland dominated by grasses, rushes and reeds. 
  • Swamp - a wetland that is dominated by trees.
  • Bog - a wetland that has accumulated deposits of peat dominated by Sphagnum moss, and heaths - pH<5
  • Fen - a wetland with peaty but alkaline conditions dominated by grasslike plants, grasses, sedges, and reeds -pH>5
  • Vernal Pool - a temporary pools of water usually devoid of fish which allow the safe development of natal amphibian and insect species 
Wetlands play a number of roles in the environment, principally water purification, flood control, and shoreline stability. Wetlands are also considered the most biologically diverse of all ecosystems, serving as home to a wide range of plant and animal life.                                   

 

The two acre wetland at Distant Hill Gardens, once a swimming pond years ago, is slowly becoming a floating bog.

The two acre wetland at Distant Hill Gardens, once a swimming pond years ago, is slowly becoming a floating bog. When we first moved to Distant Hill in 1979, it was almost all open water. The vegetation has slowly started to take over, with more than half of the water now containing a floating bog. Bogs are usually dominated by sedges and shrubs, along with abundant acid loving mosses in the genus Sphagnumwhich are all found in our wetland. It also supports native cranberries, which also like acidic conditions.