GBFD – August 2017- Foliage of the Hellstrip

So, maybe I should ask who among us admits to having a Hellstrip? I do, mine is in the front garden along the edge of the road. About 10 feet deep, catching all the heat from the sun and pavement and not having the benefit of irrigation, I decided to plant this area with hardy, nearly indestructible plants, focusing on native plants.


The anchor plant in the Hellstrip is a Gumbo Limbo tree (Bursea simarouba) this usually gets some giggles. I like this tree and it has grown from a 2″ caliper twig to a respectable 6″ trunk in about four years. Mind you, without the benefit of regular water, I watered it, to establish it but that it. This tree is also called the Tourist Tree, if you look at the bark photo, the bark is red and peeling, like a sunburned tourist.

Below the Gumbo LImbo, Bromeliads and Native Perennials are planted. The natives were selected for their very fine texture which is fairly unusual among semi tropical plants. The Bromeliads are used for their extreme hardiness and textural contrast to the natives.

The Natives:


On the left, Muhly Grass, (Muhlbergia capillaris), the right is a Sunshine Mimosa (Mimosa strigillosa). The Muhly Grass seemingly grows almost everywhere, but many gardeners have difficulty growing it. I think the key may be locating it in a Hellstrip. Both of the plants will produce lovely pink flowers in addition to their fine texture. The other native in the garden is Beach Sunflower (Helianthus debilis)

20170720_185225The coarse green foliage of this plant is beautiful in its own right,  but really shines when contrasted with the finer textured natives.

The final members of my Hellstrip composition include Bromeliads, for their evergreen  color and contrasting texture to the native plants.


On the left, a Martin Bromeliad, medium sized and red, green and yellow striped. The center plant is a Painted Fingernail Bromeliad and the plant on the tight is a smaller red and chartreuse groundcover Bromeliad, meant to spread like groundcover. These are all passalong Bromeliads, two out of three gifted to me by friends. I am not certain of any botanical names, but I am certain they will thrive with little care making my Hellstrip seem a bit heavenly.


7 comments on “GBFD – August 2017- Foliage of the Hellstrip

  1. Christina says:

    Thanks for this contribution to GBFD, it’s really interesting to see what you can grow without irrigation. I like how it all compliments each other. 10feet is a good with for a border, it gives you the space to have some large plants.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good ideas to solve a problem.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. AlisonC says:

    These plants obviously are almost indestructible. You’ll almost always find something growing in nature so that was a good idea to follow her lead.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Eliza Waters says:

    What a great planting! Around here, because of winter snow, we’re not allowed to plant within 10′ of the road. Of course, we do and thus must do battle with the DPW mower every year. Never mind that nearly everything is herbaceous and dies to the ground anyway. I swear they love their destructive power!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Chloris says:

    Well your hellstrip looks gorgeous to me. What lovely foliage, I specially like your Gumbo Limbo tree. What a name!

    Liked by 1 person

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