The Hellstrip from Hell



Go ahead and laugh. The H Strip at my house is aware of its inadequacy. Besides, you wouldn’t be the first to mock its Lilliputian size.

I’ve grown used to the giggles.

And I have intense Hellstrip envy.


This area is not designed—clearly!

It’s a hodgepodge of plants that don’t need summer watering and for the last few years they’ve thrived—thrived like weeds.


I collect seeds from here.

Visitors collect seeds too when they drive off with seed heads stuck in their shut car doors. One visiter even drove off with a plant. I saw the hole and felt badly. The roots were bound to have received a great deal of road rash.

Poor thing.

At least the driver may have found it funny.

I just didn’t want to fill in the area with rocks, but…


The empty spot then ended up looking like this. (Note that the Nigella do very well here.)


It would be nice to keep it as a mixed planting, but maybe that’s what makes it look so disorganized.

It would be fun to have something a bit different. Luckily not all areas rub up against cars and car doors so that IS possible.


I just don’t want the strip to end up like this, with the area paved over. It’s depressing to me. Too much sidewalk is just not a good thing.


What I would give for space for a street tree!


There is a tiny and colorful Buxus that’s survived well. I like the Hedera ‘Needlepoint’ too.

IMG_0014What to do…

What to do?

All planting suggestions are welcome!

It’s time to reinvigorate the garden and I’ve decided that I’ll begin at the sidewalk. Why not?

Considerations to Make

  • The Hell Strip portion on the right side of the driveway (between our house and the neighbors’ area) rarely sees car doors. We could go a bit wild here.
  • I’m not against the idea of gravel.
  • Oh, and the area faces west.

Thanks in advance!

A Dozen Garden Moments from the Summer of 2014


1) Two of my favorite pieces of concrete garden decor were stolen off of my front porch. Boo!

TakenFromPorch2) I watched Mona the Cat flourish after the fence went into the back garden.

MonaOnTheFence3) Yes, you heard me correctly, a fence went into the back garden.

IMG_69464) I learned on the 4th of July that the pink blossoms of the Feijoa sellowiana taste a lot like fruity marshmallows. Yum.


5) Seeds I’d tossed out into the garden finally bloomed. I was elated to see this Meconopsis cambrica ‘Flore Pleno’. Well hello there gorgeous!IMG_73956) The Garden Bloggers Fling went down in Portland and it was great to spend time with old and new friends. Although I was still exhausted from back surgery, I had a wonderful time. (Seen here on the far left is Laura of Gravy Lessons and on the right is Jennifer of Rainy Day Gardener.

securedownload7) It was a blast to jump on my bike to attend the first annual Montavilla Gardens Tour in the next neighborhood over from mine.

IMG_76118) While attending a monthly meetup group for Italian language speakers my husband and I were pleased to discover this fantastic giardinetto.

IMG_75379) I also found a lot of peace and comfort is this slightly more formal edible garden designed by the garden designer and author Vanessa Gardner Nagel. (She blogs over at Garden Chirps.)

IMG_784310) Recently I’ve been acting as a caregiver to my eldest cat, Macavity. She’s had a rough time these past few weeks.

IMG_817011) Filming a brief segment on cooking cardoons for the local show Garden Time was a blast. I’d never dreamed of doing anything like that and there will be more on that experience here soon. (The piece is set to air on October 4th.)

IMG_814912) Best Espelette pepper harvest ever.


Now bring on my Pacific Northwest rain! I’m ready for it to pour and my skin is dry, thirsty, and tired.

Hope you had a great summer too!

Happy Autumn!