Sunday, June 16, 2013

Hellstrip Redemption

Redemption:  The act or process of redeeming

  1. To reform, change (for the better)
  2. To save, rescue, or recover.
  3. To reclaim (to return land to a suitable condition for use).
My hellstrip has been redeemed!  It has been reformed, transformed, and changed for the better.   It has been rescued from a mundane life of Bermuda and weeds needing to be mowed on a weekly basis.  I have reclaimed that long hellstrip of lawn and returned the land to a suitable condition for growing beautiful blooming perennials that attract visitors of the pollinator and people kind.

Here is how the area looked in January right after having the utilities marked.

The transformation began in March by having the Bermuda grass removed.  As the Bermuda attempted a comeback, and as soon as temperatures allowed, I followed up with Roundup applications to make sure the Bermuda was killed to the root, leaving me with a clean slate. 

Then in late May the day I had been waiting for arrived.  
3 cubic yards of compost, 2 tons of cobblestone, and 1800 pounds of moss rock boulders were delivered first thing in the morning, and I got right to work.

Since phone cables run the length of the area literally just inches below the surface, and sometimes on top of the ground, I could not till the soil, so I opted to mound the bed with compost. 

Then with the help of my husband, the largest boulders were placed in random spots throughout the bed.    I  also added several pieces of flagstone along the front edge of the bed to make an area for visitors to have something to step on instead of flowers.  Then I began adding cobblestones along the edges to hold the mounded compost.

On Day 2 I finished adding the cobblestones along the edges of the bed.

On Day 3 I added the plants, and on Day 4 I mulched the bed.

And here's the finished product!

Notice the heart-shaped boulder :-)   
I love how the new bed turned out!!

You can see the taller plantings in the bed on the other side of the sidewalk.   All of the plants I chose for the hellstrip plantings are lower growing.
 (See detailed plant list below)

Elfin Thyme was added between the flagstones.  I am not sure if it can take this much heat, but I will replace it with sedum acre if it does not do well.  A variety of sedums and thymes were added along the cobblestone edges to soften the look over time as they creep between the rocks.

Before and After

Here's a list of the plants I used:

Catmint 'Walker's Low'
Zexmenia hispida
Lamb's Ear 'Helen Von Stein'
Pink Skullcap, Scutellaria suffrutescens
Dianthus 'Bath's Pink'
Blackfoot Daisy, Melampodium leucanthum
Salvia nemerosa 'Snow Hill' and 'May Night'
Four Nerve Daisy, Hymenoxys
Creeping Phlox, Phlox subulata
Dwarf Mexican Petunia, Ruellia 'Katie's'
Daylily 'Little Missy,' 'Little Zinger,' 'Little Trooper,' 'Dutch Art,' 'Sissy'
Pine Muhly, Muhlenbergia dubia
Gray Creeping Germander
Santolina (gray)
Thyme:  Thymus vulgaris Lavendar, Elfin, Silver Posie, Lemon, Woolly
Sedum reflexum 'Blue Spruce,' 'Lemon Ball'
Sedum kamtschaticum
Sedum potosinum
Sedum sarmentosum
Sedum mexicanum
Sedum acre
Daffodils:  'Golden Dawn,' 'Tete a Tete,' 'Erlicheer,' 'Carlton,' 'Ice Follies'
'Wise Blue' Starflower

I also added some 'Cora' Periwinkles and 'Sundial' Moss Rose just for some annual color this year until the perennials grow and fill in the extra spaces.   

Yes, my hellstrip has been redeemed!    In fact, I'd say it's downright heavenly now.

Do you have a piece of ground that needs rescuing?

Happy Gardening!

Toni :-)