Proper Attire for H***strip Gardening

I learned a new term this week: Hellstrip. Hellstrip refers to the baking hot area between the street and sidewalk or driveway. A book has been published about these gardens and there is a Facebook page. Hellstrip has hit social media! Usually narrow and not easily watered these areas require some special consideration and are difficult for gardeners to conquer.

I had not realized I even had a HELLSTRIP and the truth is I kind of like it. When my husband and I bought our house there was a Jacaranda in the strip that could literally be seen through. The top of the tree had been blown out and the crotch had rotted to the point you could catch glimpses of the house through the trunk from the street. Fearing an unstructurally sound tree, I had the Jacaranda removed. What grew under the tree might kindly be referred to as sand spurs.

The sand spurs took a bit of work to get rid of as nothing really kills them except removal and they reseed heavily. Gallons of vinegar later and with the construction of a new driveway, I had a blank palette.

With a bit of research and observation I determined the plant list and began to install.

First, a native and very drought tolerant tree, The Gumbo Limbo. Gumbo Limbos are wonderful Shade Trees but pretty basic. Then to the underplantings, I searched native beach plants and looked for extremely tolerant passalongs, here is what I found:

The Sunflowers and Muhly Grass are native, the rest are imports that are very drought tolerant. Worst comes to worst, I can make some tequila from the Agave..

Dune Sunflower Helianthus debilis

Dune Sunflower
Helianthus debilis

Painted Fingernail Bromeliad

Painted Fingernail

Blue Agave

Blue Agave

Martin Bromeliad

Martin Bromeliad

Muhly Grass

Muhly Grass

The composition might seem a bit weird, but I have color year round and throw some water around every now and again. All the plants are doing well, with no irrigation whatsoever and growing in the poorest excuse for soil I have ever encountered.

Now, the question, the attire for Hellstrip Gardening, I propose this:

Animal Print Bustiers

Animal Print Bustiers

Maybe worn with Combat boots? I’ve been meaning to get a tattoo, maybe of my favorite Bromeliad….


10 comments on “Proper Attire for H***strip Gardening

  1. mattb325 says:

    Ahhh, I can see it now. ‘Southern Hellstrip Tequila’ …it’s got a ring to it! But actually the agave and bromeliads will look really good together!


  2. Chloris says:

    Gumbo limbo tree? Come on, you made that up didn’ t you.?
    I love the gardening outfit. I don’ t think that I could get away with it in my village though. It’ s more a city thing I should think.


    • For you here is the latin, Gumbo Limbo is native to my area- the Bursera simaruba, also called the Tourist Tree because as the tree ages the bark turns red and exfoliates like a sunburned tourist!! My tree is not that big.
      I did not buy the bustier, animal prints are really not my thing.


  3. I laughed out loud when I saw the biker chick outfits! Lol..there was a time I actually dressed that way! (Albeit not for gardening!)
    I had never heard the term “Hellstrip” but I had a few in several of my Massachusetts gardens. Love how you landscaped yours..we have so many of the same exact plants!


  4. Funny girl! Congrats on the hellstrip work and results.


  5. It is Hellstrip, I think that could be American slang or something. A lot of people call these areas tree strips. There are also many zoning codes about Landscape strips which are usually at the Road Right of Way. Don’t know how it works in Canada!


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