This book is a long time in the making, I believe there were at least two earlier versions which were shelved. I eagerly anticipated them both and am happy to report that holding Hellstrip Gardening in my hands, reading the pages and devouring the photos, well, the wait was worth it.
While I question why anyone needs a front lawn I do understand long held beliefs take a while to change. So I’m hopeful the “Lawn Gone!” movement will continue to gain momentum but I think this book is the perfect introduction to the concept. What is addressed as the “last frontier” (you’ve planted up everything else, why not focus on the hellstrip?) could actually be the gateway garden to an entire removal of front yard lawn. Just imagine!
|The Portland garden of Lance Wright (the next 3 photos) is featured in the book|
|Hersperaloe, agaves, palms...oh my!|
|Who wouldn't want a hellstrip this beautiful?|
The first part of the book (Inspirations) shares 12 examples of “Curbside Gardens from Coast to Coast” each with luscious images and the story behind the garden. This section alone is worth the cost of the book!
Laura Crockett’s Portland Garden is one of those profiled: “Destruction comes with the territory in public garden areas, and Laura is philosophical about it…One year just before Mother’s Day, all her flowers were picked. Though she felt very hurt, she chose to imagine that the person who picked them needed a bouquet to give his or her mother. “I have to let go of things out there,” she says, “and it’s hard, but because it is a public space you cannot get too terribly upset about what happens there.”
Laura has a great attitude doesn't she? This idea of public space is why I've only planted yuccas in my hellstrip (I inherited the two trees), they're plants that bite back! My part of town has very narrow parking strips, and there is a park at the end of the street, that means a lot of traffic and a lot of feet in my hellstrip. The yucca can take it.
|My narrow hellstrip|
After you’re appropriately inspired by the first section Ms. Hadden covers “Challenges to Address, Obstacles to Overcome” (working with trees, laws and covenants, road maintenance and utilities, etc) and “Solutions for Designing, Building, and Managing a Curbside Garden.” Finally she wraps it all up with a listing of “Curbside-Worthy Plants” and suggests further reading.
|The hellstrip garden of Lucy Hardiman, complete with an area rug by Jeffrey Bale|
|Another Jeffrey Bale creation at Nancyland|
Are you curious? Well Timber Press has kindly agreed to give away a copy of Hellstrip Gardening to a lucky reader. If you’re interested simply comment on this post and let us know what you're doing with your hellstrip, I’ll chose a winner on July 6th and get in touch if you're the lucky one (I'll need to contact you to get your address, Timber will send the book directly to you).
Also you’ll want to click on over to the Timber Press website because there you can enter to win a copy of the book (yes you need two, give one to a friend!) AND a $250 nursery gift card. Who can’t use 250 worth of plants!? Oh and if you’re one of the lucky bloggers coming to the Portland Fling you’ll get to meet the author when we visit the Timber Press offices next Friday morning!
***And the winner (drawn by random number generator) is #8, Fifi!***
|The extra-wide hellstrip garden of my plant lust partner Patricia|
(and actually she's moved so I guess it's her ex-hellstrip garden)
Timber Press sent me a complimentary review copy of Hellstrip Gardening but I was under no obligation to write about it. All photos (except for the book cover) in this post are mine and not from the book. All material © 2009-2014 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.