Steel has become a popular gardening material in recent years, as for instance gardenvisit.com noted during the 2010 Chelsea Flower Show. Sculptures, seats, anything can be done in steel (a few months ago I saw an original early 20th century agave-in-pot, completely made of zinc).
In Chelsea corten steel (also known as weathering – or COR-TEN steel) was also used for sculptures, but the material has been around for a while in gardens -with a different use. Many parterres de broderie have in recent years been (re)created within the curves of narrow strips of corten steel, dividing the planted areas from the ones containing gravel. Plant box hedges within the boundaries, pour gravel in the remaining areas and hey presto: we can still see the steel. Continue Reading »
The strips of corten steel that are used to (re)create parterres de broderie are purely functional. Somehow -and to my dismay- the increasing interest in steel as a gardening material seems to result in ugly rims of steel around box hedges.