Hellstrip Gardening Highlights and Give-away

Hellstrip Gardening Highlights and Give-away
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One of many fabulous hellstrip gardens on Buffalo’s Garden Walk.

How could I NOT love Hellstrip Gardening?  The subject is fun and inspiring, and I’m a long-time fan of the author, too – the Rant’s own Evelyn Hadden  (whose earlier book about Beautiful No-Mow Lawns I reviewed here.)

But this isn’t a “review.”  (They’re usually so boring!)  Instead, I offer highlights of the book based on my own adventures in hellstrip gardening.  Scroll down for how to win a copy.

– I love the book’s thesis, that “such small places can change a home, a neighborhood, and a community.”  Hellstrip gardening is a particularly generous form of gardening, “bringing nature’s beauty to the street where we can all appreciate it.”  Thank-yous from passersby prove that point, and are wonderful to hear.

– Evelyn is encouraging and enthusiastic, never preachy.  Thank God!  So she’ll say “Give that left-over a make-over” or encourage us to convert “unused, unloved lawns” to “appealing and useful gardens.”  Carrot, not stick.

Hellstrip Gardening tells stories of real gardeners across the country.  My favorites may be the couple in Seattle who practice “extreme gardening” by wearing headlamps to squeeze in more work hours after dark.  Hey, where can I buy one of those?

– The book is honest, particularly about the maintenance involved in, say, turning sod into a perennial-filled garden.  (It’s more work, not less.)  So, providing accurate information trumps advocacy.

– All the essential how-to bits are covered – like dealing with local ordinances and the best way to remove sod.

– The book’s lists of which plants to include and which to avoid are right-on, based on my experience.

My former home and hellstrip garden.

– The hellstrip garden I created is shown on page 163!  All the plants there were freebies – extras from the large back garden – so I didn’t worry if they were stolen or destroyed.  Turns out, no plants were ever taken and there was only one tall Sedum was damaged by a construction truck.

– Loved finding out about Seattle’s Pollinator Pathway project that uses curbside gardens to create pollinator corridors between public green spaces.

– Great examples from the two powerhouse cities of hellstrip gardening – Buffalo and Portland, OR!

Win a Copy

Edible kale and raspberries mingle with decorative coleus, fleeceflower, gazania, and grasses in a hellstrip garden alongside the parking lot of the Seward Co-op in Minneapolis.

Just leave a comment about hellstrip gardens and you’ll be eligible to win a copy of Hellstrip Gardening, chosen at random.  Entries close next Friday May 2 at midnight.

Posted by

Susan Harris
on April 25, 2014 at 9:09 am, in the category Everybody’s a Critic, Lawn Reform, Uncategorized.


    • Shannon Currey
    • 11th August 2016

    Hell strips are tough spots, and turning them into ecologically active sites is a tremendous addition to any community. I would love to learn more about the practical side of removing turf and amending the soil there!

    • Margaret Wilkie
    • 6th November 2016

    What dropped into my head as I was reading this is: why remove the turf, just add species. I have put in Lilys around a tree in the middle of my hell strip (I resisted the temptation to put quotes around hell strip) . The plan is to keep adding rings of massed varieties as the turf and mowing shrinks.

    • Kim
    • 8th November 2016

    My hellstrip is also a bus stop. I’d really love to do something with it…although goodness knows my town likes to restrict things. I NEED this book!

    • admin
    • 9th November 2016

    I first heard about gardening hellstrips when I was living in Colorado and was reading stuff by Lauren Springer. Everyone has a hellstrip, even if it is not on the street. However, the best ones are right in the front yard so you can convert the rest of the neighborhood to your way of thinking. But I haven’t built mine yet, so that is why I would like to win this book.

    • Lisa
    • 11th November 2016

    How do you garden under two Norway maples? That is what I need this book for. Hell yes.

    • Jupiter
    • 13th November 2016

    Oh, HELL YES. I’m so glad there’s a book dedicated to this. I have one outside my house that the village decide to spend thousands of dollars to “landscape” with stupid rocks and fancy grass.

    • admin
    • 15th November 2016

    Is there a chapter in the book on how to cope when the utility company comes in and rips it all up while replacing cable? That hasn’t happened to me yet, but I expect it to happen one day. (That’s the day it starts getting called something stronger than “hell” strip.)

    • Anne At Large
    • 15th November 2016

    Would love to see how this deals with irrigation issues, as someone in a summer-dry climate with a hellstrip that faces full west and is covered with river rocks (so far…).

    • Laura
    • 15th November 2016

    I *almost* planted some extra tulip bulbs in my hell strip last fall and now I regret that I decided against it. I need this book for guidance and confidence!

    • Sarahliz
    • 16th November 2016

    I’m currently without a hell strip of my own to plant in. I thought about doing planting there in my old place (but didn’t because I was afraid of logistical difficulties). This seems like a good book to have on-hand to get ideas for when we move out of our current apartment into something more garden-friendly.

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