Showing posts with label hellstrip. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hellstrip. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Hellstrip redesign

Back in the spring I dug up the tiny hellstrip area to the right of our driveway. There were two arbor vitae planted here when I bought the house.

After I removed them, I hoped the groundcover from my neighbor's hellstrip would spread here. Instead, grass popped up. And then all the neighbor dogs used that area as a toilet. I finally got sick of cleaning up poop and removed the sod, then amended the soil with crushed basalt and compost.

I banished a number of plants that I didn't love anymore to this spot, figuring they'd all die. It's difficult to get the hose to this spot and it gets baked in sun all day. I tried to make it as crowded as possible so dogs would be discouraged from pooping here.

Euphorbia 'Blackbird' has not done well in my back garden. It constantly fell over, like it couldn't get a proper root system going. Instead of throwing it in the compost bin I plopped it here. And you know what? It totally rocked this spot.

That's not morning dew, that's dog urine. It gets marked several times a day and it got almost no water after May. It's been stepped on, neglected, and it looks a thousand times better than it ever did elsewhere.

The main area of my hellstrip was never planted with any proper plan--I just threw down kinnickkinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) and coastal strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis) and called it a day. The coastal strawberry covered everything and tried to eat the sidewalk as well. It sent out runners and rooted in the cracks of the street. It was so aggressive it apparently ate my camera because I can't find a single picture of my hellstrip. I am such a useless blogger.

Right before the freezing temperatures hit Portland, on a brisk day in December, I tore out the strawberries and replanted.

The plants include, from left to right, Pennisetum spathiolatum, Arctostaphylos 'John Dourley', and Euphorbia 'Blackbird' (I like it again!).

Agave pups will be worked in to deter would-be poopers.

In the spring, once I can find my Agastache 'Golden Jubilee' seedlings again, I'll work some of those in for brightness.

I'm also going to plant Grosso lavender, whose scent I like the best of all the lavandulas. I normally hate lavender as a landscape plant; in the NW it gets woody and awful looking after a few years and then people prune them into nightmarish shapes. To avoid this, I'll be treating mine like annuals and replacing them every year. I just love the way they smell and how many bees they attract so I'm willing to put in the extra effort.

I'm really excited to see how things fare this summer and how they jibe with the rest of the front garden.

I'm getting so excited for spring! I know winter just started but I'm already earmarking plant catalogs for purchases and thinking about seed starting. I've also got some wildlife upgrades planned (we're not getting a bear, don't get too excited) and maybe some more sod removal. What is life without sod removal?