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Structural Elements: Garden Edging

March 8th, 2011

Edging plays an important role of setting boundaries for specific parts of the garden. Not only does it provide a clear visual edge to different garden spaces, it keeps the lawn out of the flowerbeds and the peppermint out of the edible beds. Edging can be made of all sorts of things, from concrete and bricks, to metal or wood or a simple edge cut with a shovel. My mom’s neighbor uses cinder blocks for her raised beds in her edible garden.

I like edging my flowerbeds with stone. I have plenty of those in the garden and I think they help tidy up the edges. I have a few spots that I need to redo the edging because I want to expand the flower beds. Since our lot slopes fairly steeply towards the street, these work perfectly to keep the soil in the bed where it belongs. I like to cut a crisp in the grass in 3-4 inches in front of the stone edging because it looks nice and it makes mowing much easier.

This spring I need to add a row of large rocks along the lower side of my driveway. Since it slopes down towards the street and to one side, the gravel has a tendency to migrate into the flowerbed on the lower side. It’s quite annoying when I want to work in that flowerbed and have to spend half my time picking gravel out of the soil. It will also help with erosion control in the lower flowerbed as it will slow the water running off the driveway. I already have a pile of rocks that I’ve been collecting just for this purpose. Since it is the driveway, I’ll need to use larger rocks so they don’t get pushed out of the way easily. I should be able to collect enough large rocks from the various piles I’ve made around the gardens for this purpose.

If I didn’t have rocks all over my property I would consider using bricks as edging. I love the look of red brick like this beautiful edging around the kitchen garden at Ash Lawn Highland. I also love brick walkways as well, there’s something very classic about them.

I’ll stick with stone in my garden since it’s free and it looks really nice with my cottage gardens.

How do you edge your flowerbeds? What kind would you use in your dream garden?

Quote of the Day: Fences

March 6th, 2011

Put a fence or wall around a garden and there’s now an inside and an outside. You’ve set off private from public and defined the garden’s limits. There’s a sense of belonging and of ownership, of stewardship over the land that the walls encompass. You’ve also defined the scope of your work and delineated the size of your canvas.

Linda Joan Smith (Smith & Hawken Garden Structures)

I love fences, of all shapes and sizes. There’s just something wonderful about a fence enclosing a garden, this quote is very true, it define’s the garden’s limits. I love how fences hide part of the garden, they almost beckon you to peek over. You know you’ll find blooms and lovely things hiding on the other side.

We have a fence along part of one of our property lines. The previous owners installed it and did it very poorly. We’ve taken down part of the fence because it was leaning heavily to one side and we plan on removing the rest of it. It’s a plain wooden picket fence, which is actually quite nice in the garden.

Whenever we’re out driving around I find myself drawn to gardens with fences. Here are a few images of fences I’ve collected during my travels including:

Eliot Coleman’s Four Season Farm in Harborside, Maine. It’s simple and utilitarian, yet beautiful in it’s own way, mostly because the setting behind it is so extraordinary.

I’m particularly drawn to stone fences/walls for some reason, probably because of the amount of this we have around Chiot’s Run. Whenever I think of stone garden enclosures I automatically thing of the Nearing’s Forrest Farm.

White fences are very classic and always lovely no matter what they surround. I really liked the ones at Ash Lawn Highland that surrounded the pastures and the kitchen garden.

I couldn’t forget to mention the huge fence installed by Thomas Jefferson around the vegetables garden at Monticello. This is the kind I really need around Chiot’s Run to protect us from all those deer.

Fences come in all shapes and sizes and can be made of just about anything, from old drift wood or saplings to neatly clipped shrubs. I really want to install a fence around my garden here at Chiot’s Run, I just need to settle on the materials and the design. I guess since I pretty much love all fences I probably will love whatever I end up putting in.

Do you have a fence around your garden? What’s your favorite type of fence?

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.