Floating sedges at the Irondequoit Inn, 20X16, oil on canvasboard.
I love boreal bogs. There’s a terrific one at Quoddy Head in Lubec and there’s Corea Heath which we’ll be visiting in August. New York’s Adirondacks are chock-full of them, including Barnum Bog at Paul Smith’s VIC.
A bog is a nutrient-poor acidic wetland dominated by sphagnum mosses, sedges, and shrubs and evergreen trees rooted in deep peat. This is in contrast to a marsh, which is dominated by grasses, rushes or reeds, and often sits at the edge of open water. Swamps are forested wetlands containing slow-moving to stagnant waters; they too are usually attached to open water.
Weather Moving In At Barnum Bog, 12X9, oil on canvasboard.
All of these have their attractions, but none is as lovely as a bog. It is a feast of color even when the rest of the landscape is uniformly green.
Bogs are built on a base of sphagnum, which is a genus of about 120 different plants commonly lumped together as peat moss. Sphagnum and sedges sometimes make floating mats along the edges of open water; I’ve painted these mats in Piseco many times. It’s tricky to gauge their color, which runs from purple at the base to green and orange in the foliage.
The Dugs in Autumn, 11X14, oil on canvasboard.
Sundews and pitcher plants are hardy, long-lived perennial plants that have found a niche chowing down insects. They rise straight above the sphagnum with flower heads in snappy red, green and purple. Dwarf cranberry and Labrador tea shrubs form low mounds. Poking out through this mess are stunted evergreens attempting to get a foothold on the peat cushion. And usually there’s a vast semicircle of pines framing the scene, and perhaps a mountain rising in the distance. Bogs are a painter’s paradise, often ignored for flashier scenes.
Autumn Sedges, 6X8, oil on canvasboard.