Summer Story Starters

May 31, 2016

Edging plants can work miracles – from fixing messy beds and directing garden traffic to serving as as garden railings. Here’s how garden edging plants can work miracles…

 

Instant Fix for Messy Beds

Every garden reaches the stage where it’s full of plants but suddenly looks a mess. Home-gardener or landscaped-designed garden beds all go through this stage because it’s all about the plants reaching an age where they loosen up a little. The result is a landscape that has lost its planned structure and balance. There are lots of complex ways to pull everything back onto line, but the easiest of all is to add in a border.

 

The messy garden in the background has been sorted with the punchy edging of Storm agapanthus along the front.

The messy garden in the background has been sorted with the punchy edging of Storm agapanthus along the front.

That’s right. Plant a row of something lovely along the front of the bed and everything else – no matter how unruly – will look fantastic again. Of course you need the right type of plant. Something that’s not too tall, something that can look after itself and if it has flowers, that’s even better. Something like Storm agapanthus. If you plant them closely they’ll quickly form an unbroken edging of strappy foliage. Then in late Spring you’ll have dancing heads of blue flowers for weeks and weeks. There is a white version available as well, but whatever the color, a repetitive planting is a great addition to any messy garden simply because it tends to tie things together.

 

Directing Garden Traffic

Sometimes the best laid paths just don’t seem to be able to attract the foot traffic. Maybe there’s some confusion over how to get to your front door, or perhaps people are just lazy and like to take short cuts. The result can be a dirt goat-track running through your garden or lawn where you’d really rather a bed full of un-trampled flowers or a lush green sward. Happily the solution is an easy one. Plant a barrier-row of plants and watch all but the most determined tramplers be re-directed back onto the paved path.

This poolside planting of Flower Carpet Pink keeps traffic out of the pool yet offers a colorful alternative to fencing (where allowed)

This poolside planting of Flower Carpet Pink keeps traffic out of the pool yet offers a colorful alternative to fencing (where allowed)

Again, the success of this move is in the plant selection. You need something that people notice simply because once noticed, it’s hard to ignore and step over. You also need something that has the capacity to form a barrier that’s wide enough and high enough to make things awkward. With their low spreading habit, Flower Carpet roses are an ideal option.  And even when they’re not in bloom, their glossy green foliage adds a bit of interest.

Use stand-out plants, like this coprosma hedge of Pacific Sunset, to stop people taking short-cuts in the garden.

Use stand-out plants, like this coprosma hedge of Pacific Sunset, to stop people taking short-cuts in the garden.

There are two terrific coprosmas out there called Pacific Sunrise and Pacific Sunset (one’s more pink and the other’s more red) and they are showstoppers. They’ll grow to the prerequisite height and width (about three feet is enough of a deterrent) and best of all, they are easy-to-grow, tough cookies so that you won’t get some of the plants dying off and leaving you with gaps in your barrier.

 

Greenery as Garden Railings

Gardens with different levels can start to look a bit fussy if you build railings wherever there’s a break between each variation in height. The classic scenario is the paved patio or deck which sits at knee height above the garden below. A railing here would be an eyesore, and an overkill in terms of safety (no-one’s likely to hurtle to their death falling 16 inches). The solution is a barrier of something living and green – a little reminder not to stray too close to the edge.

Imagine growing Festival Raspberry along the edge of your deck to soften the change in levels.

Imagine growing Festival Raspberry along the edge of your deck to soften the change in levels.

And by green, we don’t necessarily mean green because one of the best candidates for the role of living garden railing is the Festival cordyline. It comes in three gorgeous over-the-top colours – Raspberry, Burgundy and Lime – and it grows into a three foot high cascade of strappy foliage from a basal clump that’s thick enough to define the edge and soft enough to catch anyone silly enough to step backwards without thinking.

easy care edging plants

Here Festival Burgundy spills over the edge of a patio forming a living railing

 

If you’d like free hi-res images to accompany this story starter from Tesselaar Plants, please contact Judie Brower at jbrower@TesselaarUSA.com

 

 

 

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