What a week we’ve had, gardeners! It seems that our plants were literally sprouting overnight! What a difference a little heat and rain makes!
Last time you and I chatted, I was telling you about an interesting book I was reading about how to revitalize an old garden. One suggestion was to make curving flowerbeds. It so happens that a dear friend was making some changes in his own garden at the same time, but these involved using landscaping ties to make straight, clean edges to his flowerbeds. So why don’t we talk about this approach to designing your garden.
There is something about crisp, clear edges in a garden: they are very neat, very clean looking, like a well-pressed shirt. If you love the tumbled, cottage garden look, straight edges may not be for you. But if you like an orderly patch, with more than a semblance of symmetry, straight edges are just for you.
We’ve seen gardeners who made a straight edge to their beds using an edging tool, then scooping up the dirt into the bed, resulting in a kind of little trench along the edge. This look is very neat, but does require some determined upkeep, since soil has a way of rolling back into the trench, and needs to be touched up; also, grass roots can work their way into the edge, looking like a badly trimmed moustache. It is a beautiful way to do your beds, but be prepared to put in a little extra elbow grease.
To take the above idea one step further, you might decide to use landscaping ties. These provide a neat, solid edge to your flower beds, plus give the warm look of wood. The process takes some work, but once in, they are a good way to keep the lawn out of your flowerbeds.
Your first step would be to dig a trench along the edge of the bed; you will lay the landscape ties in this trench, so make it about three or four inches deep. Now is the time to do some housecleaning: pull up any roots or stones, and if you’ve got some determined weeks like quackgrass or chickweed trying to sneak into the flowerbed, get them out. (Remember, if you are trying to keep grass from creeping into your lawn, the ties will be a barrier, but they will also keep in any unwelcome visitors in your patch, so this is your chance to clear them out!)
Lay the ties into the trench, making sure they are level, and tight up against each other. Once you have this entire “first layer” down, it is time to begin adding the top layer of ties. From what I have read about this project, you want to line up your ties so that you don’t have a seam on top of a seam: they should be staggered. After you have set your second layer of ties in place, you will have to drill a hole along the ties at about four foot intervals, and especially in the corners, through both the top and bottom ties, and drive a spike or a sturdy piece of rebar through both ties and into the ground below.
This will hold your edging in place.
As we all know, no garden project is ever maintenance free: even with your nice new edging, you will still have to decide how you are going to keep the lawn looking neat along the ties, whether you pull it out by hand or use a trimmer. But once this is done, you’ll have a really spiffy looking flowerbed!
The Saskatchewan Horticultural Association 6th Annual bus tour takes place July 17 – 19. The tour goes to Saskatoon this year, and will visit a variety of interesting gardening sites. The price of the tour includes your bus ride, hotel, and admission to the various points of interest. It’s a great mini-getaway, where all you have to do is get on the bus and relax! This tour is open to anyone who is interested, so if you’d like more information, call Liz at 782-2830.
Yorkton and District Horticultural Society members, remember that our next meeting is on Wednesday, June 20 at Skinner Garden Classics. Note the start time is 6:00 p.m. This is a members only meeting, and it will be great to see what Gary and his hard-working staff have at the greenhouse!
For full details about the meeting, call Liz!
Till next time, enjoy your garden, and now that we have the heat, be sure to wear a hat!