Sunday, April 19, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Making your hellstrip a beautiful part of the neighborhood

By
From page D4 | August 24, 2014 |

When first reading the term “hellstrip gardening,” I was curious and had to research what this term meant. Hellstrips are the areas between the sidewalk and the curb. Often these are pieces of land that are part of the public landscape. There are other names for hellstrip gardens, such as meridians, planting strips, inferno strips, tree parks, verge, boulevards or pocket gardens.

Living in an older neighborhood, we have these areas on several blocks. The majority of property owners keep these strips covered in grass or rock to simplify maintenance, but many are overlooked and full of weeds and other volunteer plants. If you have such an area on your property why not dig in and transform your small space to beautify your home and neighborhood?

Becoming aware of these “special” planting areas, I noticed that there are homeowners who have planted the area between the sidewalk and street with amazing ingenuity. A pocket garden can be any small, unused space on your property outside the fence, down the steps or beside the driveway. These small areas can be reformed to make your neighborhood more interesting, more peaceful, earth-friendly, fragrant and beautiful.

For gardeners wishing to spend their energy, time and resources bringing nature’s beauty out to the street, do your homework and become acquainted with the plants suited to these small gardens. Review the space as to exposure (sun or shade). Would wind or rain be a factor to consider? Are there existing trees? Do you want to add trees? Avoid anything that would scratch or poke, such as roses, lemon trees or junipers. Do you have access to water or do you need to bring water to the space? Is the soil healthy or does it need amendments to support plant growth? Do vehicles park along the street where car doors open into the space and passengers step into the garden? Is there a problem with wildlife in the neighborhood?

Water scarcity and rising costs of irrigation should be a concern to all of us. Using drought-tolerant plants is always a smart choice. The challenge of climate and soil affect us all.

Curbside gardeners include those who want edible gardens or choose to plant edibles among their annuals and perennials. Vegetables grown in a hellstrip garden would be subject to others helping themselves to your harvest. Most of us share our gardens with our friends and neighbors anyways. Another benefit is for children to experience the delight in picking fresh food. A great reference book on edibles in the front landscape is “Edible Landscaping” by Rosalind Creasy.

What to include in a curbside garden? Compact shrubs that “fit” entirely within the planting area, mulches to discourage weeds, plants from your garden and your friends’ gardens. A path or a couple of stepping stones linking the sidewalk to the street is a good idea. Use inexpensive or easily replaced plants. When purchasing plants, read the mature size of the plant, as it will grow to that size!

Things to avoid in this garden are fist-size rocks that could trip visitors, branches arching over the sidewalk, rare or expensive plants and foliage that obstructs signs or safety equipment. Don’t plant vines or groundcovers that become over-exuberant and need constant trimming.

For those gardeners who like the look of lawn, no-mow lawns can be a solution. There are choices for lawns that need minimal water, little or no fertilizer and no mowing, such as low-growing native grasses such as Habiturf, (developed in Texas), dwarf Mondo grass or even liriope.

Drip irrigation is an easy, affordable system to water your pocket garden. It has little or no loss from evaporation and slow enough water disbursement that the soil can absorb it without runoff. Another easy watering system is using a soaker hose, or two such hoses linked together. They are sturdy enough to be stepped on and do not clog easily. They are a removable solution for hellstrip gardens where a more permanent system is not allowed or possible.

With this new information, I plan to redo our hellstrip garden in the future. We are fortunate that the water supply is part of our regular lawn sprinkler system.

To complete this project, it would involve removing the existing lawn, adding new soil, some drought-tolerant (dwarf) plants, a few stepping stones, mulch and maybe a piece of garden art.

I did say “in the future,” didn’t I?

Sharon Rico is a Master Gardener with the University of California Cooperative Extension office in Fairfield. If you have gardening questions, call the Master Gardener’s office at 784-1322.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 2 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • omydarling21August 24, 2014 - 3:40 am

    Thats funny how every other story pops right up except the one about the shooting. Way to be obviously covering the story up.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • LilAugust 24, 2014 - 7:49 pm

    How is Habiturf a native grass if it was developed in Texas? And isn't dwarf Mondo grass and liriope from Asia. Maybe I don't understand what native grass really means. I thought it referred to grasses that grow naturally in the area.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Waiting game: Woman, toddler hope for kidney transplants

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
Tiny twins call Heather House their 1st home

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1, 3 Comments | Gallery

Solano ranks last in Bay Area for health

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
SID to consider water rate hikes

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1

California water saving mandate shrinks cuts for some cities

By Staff and wire reports | From Page: A1

 
Who is the Bay Area’s most popular athlete?

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2

 
City announces Browns Valley Road closures

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3

Healthier Living program begins mid-May

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3

 
Bachelor party turns into community event

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Il Fiorello serves up chocolate desserts

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Coping with seasonal allergies

By Emerita Brigino-Buenaventura, M.d | From Page: C4

When to throw in the towel on sickly plants

By Karen Metz | From Page: C4

 
Church hosts health, wellness fair

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Solano superhero back in school

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

 
Weather for Sunday, April 19, 2015

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B6

Home, garden show offers something for everyone

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
2 nations at center of market drop

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: B7

Vanden robotics team ready to compete in world championships

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
Fairfield hotel gets major renovation

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Teen victim of Dixon shooting dies

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A7

Land use, design, project synergy key to growth

By Brian Miller and Karl Dumas | From Page: B7

 
Fairfield police log: April 17, 2015

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

Suisun City police log: April 17, 2015

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

 
Commissary-Exchange pairing gains steam

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B10

Airmen with county ties complete training

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B10

 
.

US / World

San Francisco marks anniversary of 1906 earthquake

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Time plus distance help some Oklahoma City victims move on

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Police: Officers kill man who charged at them near St. Louis

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Scarlett O’Hara outfit fetches $137,000 at auction

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Turin Shroud goes back on display for faithful and curious

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Caged puppies on car roof trigger dozens of 911 calls

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

French replica of revolutionary frigate sets sail for Boston

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Islamic State blamed for Afghan suicide bombing killing 35

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

.

Opinion

Talk about corruption

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Transportation projects should benefit all drivers

By Brian Thiemer | From Page: A8

Justice not served

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Clinton should spruce up a bit

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Brown support of ag water ruffles feathers

By Dan Walters | From Page: A8

Sound off for April 19, 2015

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: April 19, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in history: Sunday, April 19, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Is it possible for Methodists to agree to disagree on gay marriage?

By The Washington Post | From Page: C3 | Gallery

 
Vatican unexpectedly ends crackdown of US nun group

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

Horoscopes: April 19, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

 
Wife needs to decide if she can tolerate husband’s binge drinking

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

.

Entertainment

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Anna Kendrick has book of essays coming out in 2016

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Phil Klay, Leslie Jamison among PEN award nominees

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
.

Sports

Crawford, Heston lead Giants to win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Curry scores 34, Warriors beat Pelicans 106-99 in Game 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Reddick’s 3-run homer sends A’s to 5-0 victory over Royals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Cal defense shines for a change at scripted spring game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Jones throws 2 TDs, wins challenge at Ohio State spring game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Serena Williams gets a rare test from Giorgi but holds on

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Tom Watson: Next Masters might be his last

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Free agent center Wisniewski signs 1-year deal with Jaguars

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Pete Rose hired by Fox as special guest studio analyst

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Marcotte, Ryan win US cycling Criterium championships

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Independent league experiments with 3-ball walks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Merritt maintains edge through 3 rounds at RBC Heritage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
As Spurs know, international players can impact NBA playoffs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Rose scores 23, Bulls beat Bucks 103-91

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Harden has 24 points, Rockets beat Mavs 118-108 in Game 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Pierce leads Wizards past Raptors in OT in Game 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Hometown report: Little League baseball

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4

Hometown report: Youth track

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4

 
Kenseth content in car and not contemplating retirement

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

Logano leads flag-to-flag to win Xfinity race at Bristol

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
This date in sports history for April 19

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
.

Business

Using a prepaid card? Avoid getting socked with fees

By The Washington Post | From Page: B7

 
This year’s fight for the tech industry: Patent trolls

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Recalls this week: blowers, bike hooks, mattresses, toys

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
IMS: US prescription drug spending jumped 13 percent in 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Fast-growing Asian aviation confronts safety challenges

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9 | Gallery

 
USDA veterinarian: Bird flu outbreak could be ‘devastating’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

 
.

Obituaries

Carole Anspach

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Frances Bayona Lozano

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Robert Larkin

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Barbara Medders

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Carrol “Carl” Gordon Parker

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
John Thompson

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Allen Ellsworth Dolby Sr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Sterling Jenkins

By Nancy Green | From Page: A5

Dennis Burkhart von Ting

By Nancy Green | From Page: A5

 
.

Comics