Saturday, February 2, 2008

Keeping Your Edge?

Keeping your edge. Sounds like a mantra often heard in the business world. Well, not only is keeping your edge-or an edge-important in the business world, it is important in the garden as well.

Sharp, well defined edges are the frosting on the cake in a well maintained landscape. What is an edge? An edge is that place in the garden where textures change. A garden bed to the lawn or house or hardscaping, the lawn to the driveway or sidewalk or patio, a swimming pool to the garden, a garden to the deck. All of these individual areas have edges. How you define your edge is totally up to you, but it is important to have a well defined, neat edge.

In the garden, I have found trenching the beds alongside the lawn works best. You see, I have a confession, I don't like to weedeat! I have yet to meet anyone who does, but I really have an aversion to it. But, I do like to dig with my shovel. Therefore, making trenches around my beds gives me the best of all worlds. I can dig (only about three times per year), and I don't have to weedeat around hardscaping. Where there is hardscaping in my garden, I do weedeat. Sometimes I try to put gardens in around the hardscaping as an 'edging' garden to reduce the weedeating. Unfortunately, it really doesn't make sense to put gardens around gardens where there is a hardscape edge, nor does it make sense to put a garden around my driveway since we so often drive on the lawn. I do have to weedeat.

The garden in the picture in the foreground is a foundation garden with a trenched edge around it. But directly across from this garden, is a raised bed surrounded by broken concrete. I have to weedeat around this bed. I also have to weedeat around the driveway, part of the vegetable garden, and around part of the pool garden. All in all, this is not too much weedeating considering I have many more gardens I don't have to weedeat around.

The next time you are in the garden, consider your edges and try to keep a sharp and neat edge-in all you do.

in the garden....


  1. Good morning guys! :?)>
    Up for along day today. Just wanted to comment quickly. I have used left ove tar shingles to hard edge my gardens. Although tough to cut, (need to be Samson sometimes) they can be notched out in able to go around treeroots and stand up on edge nicely. Weed wacking is no prob.
    Well, off to get going for the day.

  2. Tina how about an update on the 6 little cuties.

    Dawn I know you may not get this till much later, maybe even tomorrow but good luck today. Just think once the waterbed is ready you get to sleep and wake up in the wonderful new house!

  3. Good morning Tina,

    I hope all is well with the pups today. I have been thinking about them and you.

    I love this picture. I also hate to weedeat but also hate to dig trenches LOL. I like Dawns idea above about the shingles. Do you have a pool Tina? I have an inground pool in my barren backyard that I am struggling to come up with ideas for. Unfotunately it is completely surrounded by chainlink and the grassy area around it is not too big. I know that my hubby will never get around to changing the chainlink into something prettier so I just have to deal with it. I have thought of running the tiller around the entire inside of the fence border and putting perennials in. But then I will also have to do the outside of the fence I would think to make it look right. If I should choose to get so industrious...I was thinking of something tall on the inside bed to cover the ugly fence. My husband doesn't like things that climb the fence so I have to just stick to tall plants. I don't know the name of them but I like the really tall grasses that grow in clumps. Are they hard to care for? I would love to hear if you have any tall favorites that I could use.

    My neighbor has also used the method you described with your beds except he did use a tiller. He is handicapped and can't weed-eat so now he has gotten his yard to the point that he does no weed-eating, only uses a riding mower. What do you use in your beds as far as mulch, pine straw, etc. I am sounding duh here(because I am!) but what keeps the grass from getting into your bed-is it that the bed is lower than the grass?

    The storm the other night took down our last bradford pear. As my hubby is deployed my wonderful neighbors are coming over today to cut it up for me. I had hoped this tree was going to make it as it was very big, about 14 yeas old. I know they are not good trees but it was so beautiful in the spring. Now my front yard looks quite empty. At least it looks like the weather is going to cooperate today for tree cutting.

    have a great day Tina!

  4. I don't know anyone who likes to weed eat either Tina. I guess I'm bad but I don't even have one! I just use the shovel like you describe and try to get the rest with the push mower. One thing I've seen and would like to do if I ever have the money is make lawnmower strips. Laying bricks flush with the ground level around garden beds so you can just mow right on the bricks and edge it perfectly. Unless I can find a bunch of bricks laying around somewhere I'll have to wait on this idea.

    O'Malley I'm sorry to hear about your Bradford but look at it as an opportunity to put something better in its place. I would love to replace out Bradford Pears with Yoshino Cherries.

  5. Laying brick as a border and digging a trench does not work for us. We have St. Augustine and Centipede grass in our yard. They creep sideways keeping us on our toes with the weed eater...

  6. Skeeter,

    we had centipede when we lived in Enterprise AL so I know what you mean. We have bermuda now and it seems to do the same thing. Wish I had the money to put sod down but from what I hear the bermuda in my neighbors yard would sneak over and eventuallt take over.

    We had the yoshima cherry trees in Alabama also and we loved them. Thanks for reminding me how nice they are. My neighbors just finished cutting the tree up. Now I just have to call someone to grind the stump for me. Its so pretty outside today. My dirty car is calling my name but throwing the ball for the dogs sounds like more fun!

  7. Great day to be outside --I like that edging idea but part of my yard is already edged with some metal stuff --that is actually very easy to weed trim along. The rest like to clutter up with weeds, so eventually I may try this method. If I could only do half the nice stuff you've showed us I would be doing good. One day I will spend more time out there on yard work/gardening.

  8. hi all,
    i will talk gardening before i get to the pups but i do have some good news.

    good morning dawn with peaches,
    have fun moving today. i forgot about shingles as an edging material and they are actually a GREAT alternative to metal and plastic and other expensive stuff. i especially liked your idea to notch them around tree roots. around trees it is a good idea to have an edging since weeds usually don't grow too badly there and roots can be shallow so you don't really want to trench. i remember one year i divided some daylillies for mom and she had me use shingles. the shingles may still be there.

    good afternoon mom, i will post about the cuties in my next comment as an update.

    hi o'malley, it has been a long time since you are on here and it is good to hear from you. i think most people who like pets (as in pet people) also like gardening. for me they just go together.

    i do have a pool but an above ground. it is landscaped around it much to mr. fix-it's dismay. he is usually charged with the care of the pool and has no care for the perennials. in fact, i think he stomps them extra hard when he is around the pool. they do bounce back though.

    making a garden to contain the chain link is absolutely ideal. i have a post on fences coming up and i must say i have a long chain link which i never see because of landscaping. my neighbor see it only because they do not landscape. you can hide an ugly fence with perennials and shrubs and there are many which will do the job nicely. ornamental grasses are IDEAL and also a favorite of mine. One i particularly love is Miscanthus sinensis 'Morning Light'. It is a soft grass which grows lovely in part shade or full sun. it would be ideal around a pool to set a boundary and to hide your fence. some perennials to go with grasses are: brown eyes, daylillies, irises, and salvias. around my pool i have all of these and they are great. i just love swimming and seeing the tall orange daylillies right next to me while i am in the pool.

    i use fallen leaves, hay, shredded wood and pine straw with newspapers under all of it for a mulch. i cannot garden without mulches.

    i do have a disclaimer. i have fescue for lawn grass. fescue does not run and does not invade my beds like bermuda, st. augustine and centipede. thank goodness. if i had bermuda grass anywhere i would probably do a brick mow strip underlined with plastic and then a high edging i could weedwhack. bermuda is so invasive and very hard to keep out of beds. i feel everyone's pain with it. my friend geri has some near her yard and spends countless hours to get rid of it, only to have her neighbor's nicely maintained grass invade her space. urrrrrr!

    trenches would be difficult to maintain if you have the warm season grasses like bermuda. the trench being lower than the lawn grass and garden bed in combination with mulch keeps my clumping fescue from taking over. i do have to retrench about 3 times per year. not bad considering weedwhacking is usually required about twice a month.

    your poor bradford. they are such pretty trees but as you know not too sturdy. replant with some yoshino cherry trees or crabapple trees and you will be so much happier and not have to worry about them coming down. i even like redbuds though they are known to be short lived so maybe stay with the cherries. so good you have neighbors to help you get rid of it. lucky you!

    just read your comment dave and can see we are on the same sheet of music. now o'malley you really have to plant some yoshino cherries since two garden bloggers recommend them!

    skeeter, i feel you pain with those darned warm season grasses. (see above) weedeaters even sometimes do not work and keeping on your toes is an understatement. you are probably on all fours weeding and pulling each day!:)

    anonymous, your yard is set the way it is but when you expand your beds (and you will if you stay in the house long enough) you should consider trenching. you can see how neat it looks and it is easier to take care of. i can tell you the edge stay neat a very long time and i did not just edge it when i took the picture. it had probably been done more than a month or so.

    thanks so much for all of the comments and ideas and sharing on the edging. it really does add the frosting to the cake.

  9. now on to the pups. we are so happy right now. we knew the last two pups would also get parvo. in each ounce of excretment from an infected pup there can be 35 million virus cells! it only takes exposure to 1000 virus cells to be infected. pups in a litter are most certainly going to all get it.

    but the good part is as soon as i realized something was wrong (lethargy) i took them in and the vet put the remaining pups on a preventative, tamiflu. i (along with the vet) had hoped it would knock the virus down enough so the remaining four would not have to be hospitalized, but it was not to be. i dreaded getting up this morning because these two pups were somewhat subdued and slept late last night. they had probably both thrown up in the kennel but not sure if it was one or two. no poop in the crate ever from these pups.

    anyhow when i woke up neither pup wanted to come out of the crate so i prepared to take them to the vet. while i was getting ready i left the gate open. out came mia. she pooped and peed. bad thing for the house but great news! the poop was completely solid and i could not smell parvo in it. parvo has a distinctive smell and you will never forget it once you have smelled it. still i thought i would take them both in but when i put them in the car little bruiser jumped back out and walked around. he urinated and has been chewing and up and about! mia is fine too just subdued. upon discussion with the vet we decided i would keep them at home to prevent more exposure and to just watch them closely. apparently the tamiflu is working and knocking the virus down! good good news.

    both are hanging in there and resting as they should be. i am watching their drinking and urinating and pooping. what fun. not really. they are resting alot which is what they need to do. it is like us when we get viruses. there is no cure only support care. viruses have to run their course in humans and in pups. it is always so frustrating to go to the doctor for a miracle cure to fix our runny nose which is almost always viral and he says there is nothing he can do. the same for the pups but since they are so young and small they are not well equipped to fight off the virus. hence vet care involves extra fluids to replace those lost and antibiotics to prevent secondary infection.

    they are keeping the other four pups (cj, lamar, dade and baby) through the weekend. i expect they will make a full recovery. in the meantime i am watching bruiser and mia and they appear to be fine. still on the tamiflu. hopefully we have passed the worst of it.

    i never expected any of this to happen and while i understand parvo is extremely common i have never known of it and the whole situation has been difficult to say the least.

    if people can get informed about this disease and about dog rescues then maybe the story of the pups has helped. i am sure sandy and her pet people feel this way but i am finding it difficult to share all this despite the encouragement.

    my wish is there will come a day when animal rescues are not needed to do pet rescues because pet owners will be responsible and spay and neuter their animals so that every single animal has a good home. pets are so special because they are really here at our mercy and we owe them a responsibility which we sometimes fall short in holding up. it is not the pets fault they are here and the folks who work at the animal shelters and animal rescues and just animal lovers in general are very compassionate people to do all they do every day.

    so here is an update and as things stand. and don't worry guys, the garden will be fine no problem. it is amazing how living things can bounce back and have a strong will to live, as do these pups.

  10. Tina I had never heard of it before either or at least never knew anyone that had a pup or dog with it so I goggled it and wow!!!!It was in 1970 when it first rocked the dog world and they started working to find a vaccine for it. Even though they have a vaccine they are still working to find a better one. Some (but not all) scientists think it is a mutation of the panleukopenia that affects cats. Pups with it will shed a billion cells in a 2 week perion and the cells can live in the enviroment for 5 months or longer! Certain breeds seem more prone to it and the labs are not one of them, so I wonder what the mix is in the pups. The ones more prone are: rottweilers, Dobermans, Pit bulls and German shepherds. If the mother of pups has had the vaccine the pups are also protected for a while but then that wears off and the pup needs the vaccine Big problem there as when do you give the pup the vaccine as if they still are protected from the mother the vaccine is useless to the pup. In other words if you did it to early you think the are protected and they are not. However they are working on that. God bless the sscientists. The article also said not to take puppies to parks or pet stores untill you are sure they are protected from the virus.
    Now what I would like to know is why we have not heard more of this before as it is very serious subject. Another good, no great thing about blogs like this is it gets the word out about so many things.

    Glad they are doing better and sorry you have had to go thru all this.

  11. it is ok. the disease is really quite common and in our family it has been good none of our dogs have been affected.

    i will not bring any new dogs around the house or yard for a long time and none come and visit except ralph's. his dog is vaccinated. i am betting dade was sick with it all along. he is also doing very well. he was maybe the carrier but it is what it is.

    today is a great day outside and we are all outside including the pups. and they like tuna fish! i am encouraged they got an appetite and are drinking a little but still not up to par. hopefully they will stay stable.

    gotta get to the garden...

  12. the puppies are doing SO great. they are chewing on me again and running around so maybe we dodged a bullet here....

  13. quick note, glad the pups are doing sooo much better.
    Tina, well said description of the whole ordeal, I had heard of this but thought it was closely connected to kennel cough and distempter. (both real bad)I think you caught this early enough that once the weekend passes and ALL make it, ALL will be great
    I may not be on the computer because it is going within the next minutes, painting the desk tonight and may not get it back together tom. Thought I'd let you guys know.
    Hopefully my waterbed won't be freezing as we just finished filling it about a hour ago. Well water, brrr. Night. I'm beat.
    Ps. Happy groundhog day. Did he see his shadow or did the pretend, meanies pull him out sound asleep?
    How rude!

  14. Good News indeed! The Blogs and internet are a great source of information on things such as this Parvo topic. I have heard of it as I had neighbors that bred German Sheppard’s when we lived in Texas. The puppies were always so darn cute! He would have a litter about every other year or so. He lost an entire litter of 10 of the cutest fur balls you ever saw! He had them outside and a neighbor’s dog had it and it got to them through the air or something like that. Not sure as that was a long time ago but I know I do remember the name Parvo ever since. I was not going to mention this until I felt the pups were better so as to not worry you Tina, but I think you know so much about the virus now, that you will be okay with me sharing. I do think you were really doing a great job of pup sitting Tina to spot this so quickly!

    I could not help but giggle at you talking about how the pups were so difficult to get back into the kennel, up the stairs, etc. One time we volunteered to drive our neighbor to the Vet for the Sheppard puppy’s first shots! It was so funny to watch one pop its body out of the box and you no sooner had that one under control and out popped another one, then two, then another one and so on! Was a funny experience. They invested in a kennel crate after that fun day!

    We got the roof frame up on the wood shed but we ran out of day light before we could screw the Metal in place! We would have had the job completed except we had to make two unexpected trips to town. One, for nails which I asked the Saint if we had while at Lowes yesterday. Oh, he was right we have nails, lots of nails but not the size we needed to complete this project! Arggg, darn men just don’t listen at times. Nails are so cheap so why not pick some up while in town and then we have extra nails, Whats the big deal? I was so in the I TOLD YOU SO mode with the Saint… LOL… then we had to run back to Lowes for more treated 2x4 as we found holes in one of the old planks we had planed to reuse. Carpenter Bee had been busy last year! I found three of the bees on the ground while working. I have no idea if they fell out of the plank or were just near by and we disturbed them but those three will not bore any more holes in my planks! Squash! What purpose do Carpenter Bees serve to the environment? I hated to kill a bee but I also don’t want to put a new shed up any time soon….

    It may be too wet to dig the veggie garden. We had over an inch of rain on Friday and the yard is saturated from the rains we have had lately… Hopefully that lake is filling up too! We will check out the area tomorrow once we finally get the roof in place….

    O’Malley and Tina, I love the St Augustine and Centipede grasses as they are so soft and stay green with little care, but they are a pain in the butt to keep in place. Last year I used a spade of sorts to chop straight lines and then sprayed weed killer along the area where I had stuck into the ground. Worked well and I did not have too much weed whacking to do.

    My gosh I have wrote a book! Bye...

  15. Tina, I love the pic. The garden is so neat looking. I love things to look neat but with the St. Augustine that is next to impossible. I agree with Skeeter it grows sideways & any way it wants to go. Now it will be even worse as I can't weed eat or use shovel for anything.
    I too used leaves, grass clippings & news paper--anything. They all do rot over time. Boy, does it make rich dirt. Did that on West side of house & the dirt looked black , so rich. That's where the runner rose wound up with 20' canes. Had to move it to arch that my son build.Actually he built 2 of them.

    I live in town so I have to watch what I do & grow.

    So glad the babies are doing so much better.

    Dawn with Peaches
    Hope your move went smoothly. It will be worth it when all is settled in.

    I didn't know this virus attacked certain dogs over others. I thought it would attack any dog. It's mean stuff.

    Well the kiddies went home today. They didn't want to go. Breaks your heart when they cry to stay but, "whew" I'm give out.

    I hear the bed calling.....

  16. Lola all dogs can get it but the ones I mentioned are more prone to it. Have a good one everyone.

  17. Tina,
    I looked up morning light and it looks very pretty and along the lines of what I was thinking. What makes this a favorite of yours? Do you have it planted in your yard? I have never grown a plant like this and am wondering if you have to periodically separate these. Also, as I would be needing quite a few of these, where do you recommmend buying them or ordering htem from. I was wondering if this is something that can be bought locally or if I should look elsewhere like catalog or online. I am looking forward to your post on fences!

    And yes. I am definitely going to think about planting the Yoshimo cherry tree. We have a blooming cherry in our back yard but I don't think its Yoshimo. I had some roses planted around it but I am afraid I have lost all of them.

    I am hoping the pups are doing well and getting stronger. Hang in there Tina..I really admire what you are doing.

  18. Jean, I see that all dogs can get it. My stepson had a doberman that got it. Sadly he lost it. I think all from that litter was lost.

    I wonder if the Yoshimo cherry tree would grow down here. Will have to look up info.

  19. hi o'malley,
    i love morning light because it grows well in part shade. unusual for ornamental grasses. i do divide mine each year simply because i need so much of it and it is cheaper to divide. it doesn't hurt it all. morning light is about 4 feet tall and the leaves are green with a white line running through the middle of them. it's appearance is soft and it is just great.

    you can get it anywhere as it is common. the big box stores should soon get some in.

    i started with just one clump and now have about 8 clumps. it makes a nice appearance even the first year after division. i love it. it's not picky about soil and is beautiful all year. you could start small with maybe 7-9 clumps, divide those you buy maybe only in half, then plant the clumps in groups of 3 or 5 and wait a year then divide again to get enough. depends how much you want to spend and how fast you want an instant effect.

    lola, diseases in pups are so devastating, they do usually take a whole litter of pups. so sad.

    i am sure yoshino cherry will not grow down there. my southern living book says it grows to the lower south zone, which is not in florida as you all are considered coastal south or tropical south. sorry.

  20. Rats, I was hoping the cherry would live down here. I have an ornamental plum living that I brought down from N.C. It doesn't get very big which is nice being in town. It also has pink blooms all over before leaves even appear. Leaves are on the red side.

    Loosing a pet is bad either way you look at it. I lost my chihuahua due to someone putting out poison. This was some time ago.

  21. sorry about your loss, lola losing any pet can be very hard and devastating.

  22. It is hard Lola. We just lost our 15 year old Boston Terrier in July but we have a younger one left plus a Beagle.

    My daughter that lives next door never thought she wanted a dog Lola but got one for her daughter as a birthday present one year..a long hair chihuahua. Now my daughter has 2 more....another long hair one and a short hair one. She just loves them and says she will never be without one.

  23. Sorry Lola, We lost a long haired calico cat,i believe, to someone setting poison. We'd been thru everything with her, taming took a year, then she bit Jack of all trades while going to the vets, (almost had her going to a shelter for 6 months for that one) then she escaped being hit by a car with afew lost teeth. People don't pay attention to the birds, cats or dogs when thinking about mice. Oh, did I mention she was trapped in the underneath of the trailer next door? On the coldest night of the winter? For two days? The place is on the market and someone stopped to look at it, shutting the shirt while she was mousing under it, we followed her tracks in the snow. That was one happiest, bounding, kitty you ever did see.