UKBob has a fascinating blog... whenever I think about how idyllic it must be to garden at a manor in England, I visit Gardener to the Big House to read his daily tasklists and come back down to earth. (And then I read about the fun he has ordering things like fan-trained cherry trees and I'm back to drooling.) That Bob chronicles his interesting side trips and hikes, and is always good about putting on a pot of tea in the potting shed when you want to chat, is even more reason to visit.
A comment he made on my recent winter interest post got me thinking about the issue of edging. That my front bed should have been better edged (and shaped) is not at all in dispute. That Bob does a wonderful job of edging, and that his edging looks great along this stone wall is not in question, either.
What I wonder is about the issue of edging in general.
I tend to not be so neat as Bob. I purposely plant sages, thymes, dianthus and even hellebores near edges where they can cover the nearby hardscape. At the sharp corner where my retaining wall meets the driveway in the back, I sprinkled 'Chubby Fingers' sedums throughout the cracks to soften the edges.
Red sedums 'Fuldaglut' and 'Voodoo' mingle with chives and silver sages, but even they don't spread quite quickly enough for me. I want them to threaten the cement, not just wave to it from next door! I love the idea that the plants are taking over, exhuberantly escaping their boundaries.
Are gardeners born in just two categories: Neat Edgers or Natural Spillers? It could be genetically hardwired, like the preference for a tidy desk vs. the ability to thrive in organized office chaos. But then if that were the case, my Natural Spiller self would probably not appreciate crisp edging like the one near Bob's manor wall quite as much as I do.
Maybe, then, your take on edging is a reaction to your natural environment. Maybe gardeners who have large gardens to tend, like Bob, want to neaten the plants while city gardeners like me want to obliterate the squared-off lines and ubiquitous hardscape that surrounds us. That makes a little bit of sense to me, as I love the way Bob's wall looks but find it hard to even imagine such crisp edging in my own garden. In his, it looks amazing against all of the organic forms of plants and stone. In mine, it would be just one more line.
I know, I should be doing something more constructive right now, like wrapping my Christmas presents. But seriously, I wonder about these things! Any thoughts from fellow gardeners? Any of you want to talk about why you prefer one type of edging over another, and whether your thoughts on the matter have changed over the years?
Is this just a phase I'm going through, and one day I'll wake up and realize I need to clean up all of my edges? Hmm... something to think about over a bottle of Christmas Ale...