I have a passion for garden history. Exploring the past has always been about trying to unravel a mystery...working with the few clues scattered about. These clues tell us about how a society viewed the landscape, designed the landscape and lived in their landscape.
These images are one such clue. A beautiful clay tile with a spiral top. What were they used for? In Victorian times, these were used to edge planting beds. One pushed them in vertically, so the spiral edge showed just above the soil.
Were they functional? Perhaps. Maybe they helped retain soil. Most likely they had an aesthetic purpose...to create a pretty edge around flower displays. These may have trimmed a garden, just as ribbon trimmed a pillow or curtain. Victorians often shared indoor textile vocabulary and craft with garden design.
These photos were taken in the Missouri Botanical Garden's Victorian District. The illustration was found in a book published during the Victorian period.