Edging tiles specifically designed for garden beds and walks appeared in English publications in the mid-19th century and were extremely popular in England through the first quarter of the 20th century.
Over time, the tiles were offered in a variety of decorative patterns, including arches, circles, stars, scrolls, and more. They were generally made of fired earthenware with a transparent glaze. Their nonporous, smooth surface could withstand the effects of weather.
In Georgia, they have been found lining garden beds, sidewalks, and graves. The chief centers for manufacturing edging tiles in Georgia were Milledgeville, Macon, and Columbus.
Garden historian James R. Cothran donated three circa 1900 garden edging tiles to Cherokee Garden Library. Interestingly, gray slate tiles were used to line the garden beds in the rectangular, walled boxwood garden on the south side of Atlanta History Center’s Swan House in the late 1920s.
Since mail-order seed businesses began in the mid-19th century, gardeners all over the country have poured over catalogs of seeds and plants each spring, plotting what will surely be their best garden ever.