Thursday, October 8, 2009

Claiming the Hellstrip

We live on a busy corner, surrounded by about 100 feet of sidewalk and that lovely weed-filled strip along the road, frequently called, a "hellstrip." I believe the term was coined because the strip of land and scrub gets blasted with fiery summer sun, foot traffic, and loads of salty slush (here in 4-season land). I've pretty much avoided the 'strip, but my sister recently pointed out that it looks "scraggly," and I had to agree. It didn't look so bad before, but now that my front garden looks so phenomenal, the hellstrip's general state of neglect is glaringly obvious.

The "hellstrip" in all its glory.

So yesterday, I made my first attempt at beautifying, and planted some excess Rudbeckia. I was actually pretty stunned at how easily the weeds lifted up, and I was even more surprised by the state of the soil. I expected rock-solid clay, as I have in most of my yard, but I was happy to find some nice crumbly loam, with several little earthworms (and a few grubs). I'm not sure if I'm officially "permitted" to plant in this space, but I figure the town can't be too bothered by some not-so tall flowers in place of the weeds, especially since there are other hellstrip offenders directly across from the town hall.

Besides that little work I did, I've been pretty much leaving the garden alone. I'm pretty amazed at how much is still in bloom, especially the roses.

Like, this Christopher Marlowe rose I bought a week or two ago (above). It's continuing to put out buds, and I love how this rose starts orangey and pink, and then has tons of petals, and eventually looking like an old-fashioned cabbage rose.

My old standby Pink Knockout rose has bloomed again and looks particularly lovely against the insane mass of Boltonia.

Even my Grandmother's rose has started blooming again, and just looks phenomenal when it first breaks bud. I'm not sure if it has a virus, or if its natural, but up close, the petals have hints of white and darker pink veins.

Besides the roses, there are a few more happy surprises.

Like these miniature Shasta Daisies, which have bloomed for the third time this year!

Even my Nepeata 'Six Hills Giant' is putting out new blooms, and IMHO, the Staychis looks fantabulous!

Oscar seems to be enjoying the garden too.


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