Tuesday, March 19, 2013


It's currently snowing here in Seekonk, but despite the spate of un-springlike temperatures I've been hard at work for the past few weeks pruning shrubs, cleaning out debris and re-edging my beds. Although it's a bit of a chore,nothing makes a garden look better at the start of the season than beds with nice crisp edges. Whether curved or straight, however, I find it nearly impossible to create a clean edge by simply eyeballing the beds, so instead I use a length of rope.

Some years ago I purchased a large spool of three-ply rope at a box store. For ease of movement and tangle-free storage I transferred the rope to a hose reel. The rope I selected has a bit of weight to it and is better for shaping new beds than a length of hose. I find it the perfect tool for creating both straight lines and sinuous curves.  

For a straight line I anchor the rope to the ground by pushing the point of a large flathead screwdriver through one end. I then pull the rope taut and anchor the far end in the same manner. It often takes a few tries to get the rope perfectly straight or in case of curves to achieve the desired shape.

Once the rope is secured, I use a can of paint and spray a wide band directly over the top of the rope, making sure that the paint spreads to each side of the rope.

Any cheap paint will do. I like white, but after a few weeks or a mowing the paint disappears so color isn't that important. Dusting the top of the rope with powdered lyme also works and quickly vanishes. However, I find paint more convenient and easier to handle. 

After waiting a moment or two I flick the rope away. The resulting parallel bands of white provide the perfect guide for my edger.

Inserting the blade between the white lines I work my way easily down the bed.

The result is a crisp, straight edge that makes the beds look clean and sharp.

after edging

The result is a vast improvement.

before edging

If it ever stops snowing, the crisp edges will create the perfect frame for flower-filled beds.

On a completely unrelated matter, I'm excited to announce that I've recently redesigned my website, andrewgrossman.com. There are more pictures and visitors can watch my cable series, IN THE GARDEN, simply by logging onto the site. I hope you're as pleased with the improvements as I am.