Curve-sieve Righting …

I have a considerable interest in curves, and as promised here is Take Two of the Curve Photo Challenge.

I am not, alas, skilled in plotting probability curves relating to atomic matter based on a hideously complex equation.  Also, the curves in my cursive writing are an irregular scrawl.  I can, however, navigate curves with reasonable proficiency when driving, and I have a deep appreciation of seductive ones!

There is another set of curves which fascinate and frustrate me, though,  and those relate to gardening and landscape design. As a garden judge, I have developed a sensitivity to the way beds are set out, and find this is one area where even the most dedicated gardeners tend to go wrong – or the garden labour muck things up.  A flower bed at the side of a lawn, for example. If one goes for the ‘easy’ option of a rectangle, the straight lines have an absolute compulsion to start wiggling.  Anyway, those only work in very formal gardens, and generally one finds flowing curves are better.

These curves work pretty well.

These curves work pretty well.

This is where problems can start.  Many gardeners will go for incredibly ‘fussy’ little semicircles, which only work in a tiny bed.  Larger beds call for gentle, sweeping curves, which lead the eye along the length of them to – hopefully – some focal point.  The trouble is that by accident or design the flow of these is usually interrupted by a kink or defect.  This spoils the whole effect.

Here, the one apparent 'kink' tends to detract.

Here, the one apparent ‘kink’ tends to distract and detract. and because there are border guards to prevent migration the fault has to be in the design or planting.  Would that curve be perfect if no tall plants were at the edge to interrupt the view?  It seems that even without them the curve is too sharp, and beyond is a bit of aimlessness which might have been improved with better-defined gentle curves.

Of course, the safe way of ensuring that curves remain unblemished is, after getting the shape perfect, to line them with pavers or stakes. The purist, though, will shy away from adding such artificiality to the planting, and it must be admitted that gardens where the plants in a well-shaped bed meet the lawn along perfectly defined curves without ‘edging’ are stunning.

In this bed, border guards keep migration under control.

In this bed, the lawn is kept disciplined – probably with nail-scissors!.

A final hazard – particularly in a sloped garden – what seems a perfectly-defined curve from one angle can easily appear to have a fault from another.  It is usually possible to find a compromise that will work from any aspect, but this can take months of frustration to achieve.

A tip for initial shaping – lay out a de-kinked garden hose along the proposed edge, study the result from all angles, adjust as many times as are necessary, and forbid it to move a millimetre until digging has been done using it as a template.

© June 2012 Colonialist (WordPress)

About colonialist

Active septic geranium who plays with words writing fantasy novels and professionally editing, with notes writing classical music, and with riding a mountain bike, horses and dinghies. Recently Indie Publishing has been added to this list.
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16 Responses to Curve-sieve Righting …

  1. Pingback: Curve (lake) | What's (in) the picture?

  2. susielindau says:

    Those are gorgeous gardens! I have a few curves in mine too!


  3. Joss says:

    It seems there is some science as well as art that goes into this. I do think curves are more appealing to the eye than straight lines…well, look at people!


  4. Valentina says:

    Beautiful landscape with curves.


  5. Pussycat44 says:

    I can draw a mean sine-curve freehand, but I’m glad my little garden is a boring rectangle 😉


  6. Speaking as a blogger who sincerely wants to read other bloggers’ posts but who has little time to spare, I have to say I’m rather relieved that you are not skilled in plotting probability curves relating to atomic matter based on a hideously complex equation. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Tom Merriman says:

    I’m not very green-fingered, Col. My curves would be less curve and more kink. And that doesn’t sound very good at all… :/


  8. That’s exactly how I’ve achieved relaxed curves in the four gardens I’ve designed from scratch. And it works. If the gardens in the pictures are yours, that’s a great big WOW.


    • colonialist says:

      Sadly, the gardens are those of entrants to gardening competitions. We will only have something to show in another year or so – although the foundation we put in the little cottage area is starting to mature nicely from when we moved in. Needs an awful lot of fine-tuning, though.


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