The gardener's eye

The Gardener's Eye

Sunday, August 15, 2010

What a Difference an Edge Makes

The Lower Garden Newly Edged

Before Edging

After Edging

Left Border From the House

Right Border From the Garden Bench

Boxwood Topiary at the Edge of the Terrace

I like borders to have strong edges. I like the contrast of the line, straight or curved, and an exuberance of foliage and flowers sometimes crossing the line. My first borders were edged by hand with a garden spade several times during the growing season which was very labor intensive. About eight years ago, I laid down a row of bricks perpendicular to the edge of the garden. It was an instant success and created the formal straight line I was after.

Several years later, the plants began to fall out and over the brick edging which made cutting the lawn difficult and time consuming because all the plants needed to be pinned up off the lawn every week. The brick edge was too narrow. So this weekend I laid two additional courses of brick longitudinally to the end of the beds. The brick edge expanded from 7 inches to 14 inches creating a wide panel for the plants to rest on. The ornamental oregano is the only plant that crosses the far.


  1. Thanks for your support, James.

    Your garden is a beautifully designed "New Perennial Style" garden and is quite different then this formally laid out mixed border.I admire your knowledge and appreciation of all kinds of gardens and styles.

  2. Love it...the border makes a HUGE nice!

  3. Scott,
    Thanks for your comment. I have enjoyed your blog. Great job with your garden this last year. Now that is a huge difference, what you have done!

  4. Completely agree with it in this style of garden. Its a visual treat and makes excellent practical sense for the health of both plants and lawn as well as making your job so much easier. Well done!

  5. Robert,

    Thanks very much for your kind words. I feel like I just got a good grade on a project. Thanks!

  6. Michael,
    What is that silver leaved shrub next to the Cotinus in the photo of the left border?

  7. James,

    The silver shrub is Elaeagnus 'Quicksilver'. I got it at Heronswood years ago. I thought I had gone to a Dan Hinkley lecture and he said that it was sterile. Interestingly enough, the 2002 catalogue was tagged as potentially invasive while the 2004 and 2005 catalogues do not have that designation. It has been an excellent foliage plant in my garden. Hinkley says it grows to 12 feet but I think it is easily stooled to maintain a smaller scale.

  8. Michael,
    Thank you for that information.



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