Garden Photo of the Day

A not-so-humble hell strip

Click here to enlarge this photo.
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais

I pass the picturesque Bridgewater Village Store every day on my way to work, and over the years, I’ve been enthralled by their tiny little hell strip. Every season sees a new, striking design. This spring, it’s a medley of gorgeous tulips (in exactly the colors I gravitate toward when buying bulbs, by the way) and blue pansies. It seems as if, instead of installing some blue rug junipers and forgetting about this tough little spot for years on end, the owners of this plaza have given some designer free reign to make some magic, and the budget to keep surprising us throughout the season. In just a few weeks, they’ll be ripping out these tulips and planting something new and exciting. I can’t wait! …and I’ll be sure to post a photo or two.

Click here to enlarge this photo.
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais
Click here to enlarge this photo.
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais
Click here to enlarge this photo.
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais

 

Welcome to the Fine Gardening GARDEN PHOTO OF THE DAY blog! Every weekday we post a new photo of a great garden, a spectacular plant, a stunning plant combination, or any number of other subjects. Think of it as your morning jolt of green.

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Comments

  1. Annedean 05/17/2011

    I've never heard the term "hell strip" before, but agree that the plantings are wonderful!

  2. Stoatley 05/17/2011

    Quite a budget at that. Those are some fancy tulips! A real gift to the community.

  3. Vespasia 05/17/2011

    I too have never heard the term "hell strip" before although having seen these lovely pictures, i realize it's very apt. What a beautiful, creative solution to the problem. I'm looking forward to seeing more pictures as the seasons progress.

    In Toronto, just south of where I live, residents have been given permission to plant on the so called "boulevard" which is much like a "hell strip" it being the grassy area between the sidewalk and the road. People have growing vegetables as well as shrubs and flowers, up until now illegally but now without risk of a fine. Great idea and forward thinking for a change!

  4. riverain 05/17/2011

    Great idea! I would love it if you have a short series of reader photos of their planted 'hell strips'!

    I have been wanting to plant my 'hell strip' (I'm tired of mowing it) and looking for ideas on cheap (in case the city does work), low growing plants (won't block driver views) that can handle drought in summer (I don't want to drag a hose out there) and salt spray in winter.

  5. Happily_Gardening 05/17/2011

    Very lovely and inviting, tulips and village/town! What an interesting term "hell strip", have never heard an area referred to as such. Your pictures makes me realize I've come to take for granted the wonderful job our community does planting/maintaining the "hell strips" throughout our city.

  6. Rebel702 05/17/2011

    Michelle, thanks for risking life and limb on what looks like a busy two lane street to bring us this beauty. I am sure this qualifies as "marketing costs" for this quaint little plaza and I encourage you to stop and shop. Support your local vendors and thank them for all of us.

  7. JardinDelSol 05/17/2011

    We usually refer to this area as the "inferno strip" down here in the SouthWest(near Las Vegas), which, given our weather, seems apt. High Country Gardens in Santa Fe has all sorts of ideas for planting an inferno strip - you can check them out at http://www.highcountrygardens.com to see their ideas. Gardeners in Denver and other places in CO have been active in planting these strips using waterwise plants also -I have seen some lovely photos of these. Perhaps readers can send in their photos of ways they have landscaped this area that reflect concepts in different parts of the country using plants for each region.

    Obviously, in my gardening area, needle-free yuccas and other thornless, succulent desert plants do extremely well in our inferno strips, and they look terrific.

    These photos submitted today are lovely, and I look forward to the next season's display from them!

  8. user-7006885 05/18/2011

    I think the term "hell strip" was coined by Lauren Springer Ogden. I do know that the first time I encountered the term it was in an article in Fine Gardening concerning how she had planted out just such an area in front of her home.

    I do wish I had a "hell strip" to plant out but unfortunately no hell strips, boulevards, or tree plots available in my neighborhood.

  9. petuniababi 05/24/2011

    This is truly beautiful.Makes my little insignificant tulips purchased from the Wal-Mart garden center look pitiful.But you've got to go with your budget.I know the community enjoys that gorgeous display!!My neighbors even enjoy my little display in spring.

  10. petuniababi 05/24/2011

    This is truly beautiful.Makes my little insignificant tulips purchased from the Wal-Mart garden center look pitiful.But you've got to go with your budget.I know the community enjoys that gorgeous display!!My neighbors even enjoy my little display in spring.

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