Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Hell Strips

If you've never heard the term 'hell strip' before, it refers to the planting strip area between the street and the sidewalk. It's typically a spot with harsh conditions and hard to keep watered. More and more, I'm seeing raised veggie gardens go into these spots. Believe it or not, the city of Seattle used to require a permit to plant in this area but within the last year or so they decided to omit the permitting process and leave it to the homeowner's discretion. Good to know there's common sense somewhere in our governmental system!

It's such a delightful surprise to come across a well planted hell strip. It's like a little oasis amongst the concrete. I've been meaning to photograph these hell strips across from Lincoln Park since last winter. I finally got out today and did it. Hooray! The below photos are rockeries just off the sidewalk. Equally harsh conditions yet so lovely to look at.

The below photo is a close up of what I'm pretty sure is black elderberry except I can't see much a flower. It has light pink blooms this time of year which are a really nice contrast to the dark foliage.

And I believe this tall, impressive beauty is artichoke. Someone please call me out if I'm wrong on that.

I've tried and killed many a plant over the years but so far these have done well for me in our hell strip: lavender, crocosmia (see detail of flower just beginning to open), blue star creeper, thyme and a number of other ground covers. As you can probably guess, you want to look for plants that do well in exposed, windy areas and are draught tolerant.

These photos below represent what I call the 'show no dirt' philosophy. Unattended to, this approach can easily lead to a wild and overgrown garden but here I think it's really quite pretty.

And here's a clever way to plant tomatoes. I love the red stakes which display the variety.

1 comment:

  1. Love love love to see the hell strip creativity! Nice that these are across from the park, so lots of people can see them and be inspired. Those red tomato stakes are eye-catching! Maybe I'll make some for my mom some summer, she always grows so many varieties. Great post!