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One of many fabulous hellstrip gardens on Buffalo’s Garden Walk.

How could I NOT love Hellstrip Gardening?  The subject is fun and inspiring, and I’m a long-time fan of the author, too – the Rant’s own Evelyn Hadden  (whose earlier book about Beautiful No-Mow Lawns I reviewed here.)

But this isn’t a “review.”  (They’re usually so boring!)  Instead, I offer highlights of the book based on my own adventures in hellstrip gardening.  Scroll down for how to win a copy.

– I love the book’s thesis, that “such small places can change a home, a neighborhood, and a community.”  Hellstrip gardening is a particularly generous form of gardening, “bringing nature’s beauty to the street where we can all appreciate it.”  Thank-yous from passersby prove that point, and are wonderful to hear.

– Evelyn is encouraging and enthusiastic, never preachy.  Thank God!  So she’ll say “Give that left-over a make-over” or encourage us to convert “unused, unloved lawns” to “appealing and useful gardens.”  Carrot, not stick.

Hellstrip Gardening tells stories of real gardeners across the country.  My favorites may be the couple in Seattle who practice “extreme gardening” by wearing headlamps to squeeze in more work hours after dark.  Hey, where can I buy one of those?

– The book is honest, particularly about the maintenance involved in, say, turning sod into a perennial-filled garden.  (It’s more work, not less.)  So, providing accurate information trumps advocacy.

– All the essential how-to bits are covered – like dealing with local ordinances and the best way to remove sod.

– The book’s lists of which plants to include and which to avoid are right-on, based on my experience.

My former home and hellstrip garden.

– The hellstrip garden I created is shown on page 163!  All the plants there were freebies – extras from the large back garden – so I didn’t worry if they were stolen or destroyed.  Turns out, no plants were ever taken and there was only one tall Sedum was damaged by a construction truck.

– Loved finding out about Seattle’s Pollinator Pathway project that uses curbside gardens to create pollinator corridors between public green spaces.

– Great examples from the two powerhouse cities of hellstrip gardening – Buffalo and Portland, OR!

Win a Copy

Edible kale and raspberries mingle with decorative coleus, fleeceflower, gazania, and grasses in a hellstrip garden alongside the parking lot of the Seward Co-op in Minneapolis.

Just leave a comment about hellstrip gardens and you’ll be eligible to win a copy of Hellstrip Gardening, chosen at random.  Entries close next Friday May 2 at midnight.

Posted by

Susan Harris
on April 25, 2014 at 9:09 am, in the category Everybody’s a Critic, Lawn Reform, Uncategorized.