Sunday, May 5, 2013

French Edging and Spring Color

Edging is one of the most satisfying of jobs, but one that you don't want to do but once a season. When I lived in CT, I worked at New Pond Farm in Redding. It was started by a retired actress, Carmen Matthews, whose dream was to teach children and the community about sustainable farming and early Native American life. Being still the actress, she loved to tell a good story. Once while edging the beds of the vinca around the farmhouse (a tedious and discouraging job), she professed the virtues and correctness of what she called "French Edging". With characteristic bravado and comedic flair, she insisted that one must edge deeply and at almost a 45 degree angle. This created a trench between the garden bed and the grass, that would last the whole season. Then fill with mulch and it creates a inhospitable situation for the grass to creep in.

I don't know if this was actually "French", but every spring, as I work my way around every bed, I smile as I think of her bright face beaming while she declared this made up truth and made me feel that the labor was somehow "European" and part of a grand tradition. I now have carried it on for 25 years and believe it from experience. Cheers to Carmen, who made simple things exciting and joyous!

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