Monthly Archives: December 2016
Those small strips between sidewalks and streets are often the most challenging to plant - plants there seem to scorch, fry and die - especially in the heat of summer. These strips of land are often lovingly referred to as hellstrips. Read on for nine perennials that are well suited and prepared to take on these hot environments.
Yarrow - Achillea millefolium
Strawberry Seduction Yarrow
Yarrow is a highly adaptable, long-lasting perennial. It thrives in hellstrips and is beautiful both in bloom and after. The large umbel flowers come in a variety of colors, and the thin, silvery fern-like foliage. Resistant to deer and rabbits and beloved by many pollinators, it will thrive in your hellstrips. Notable characteristics:
* Adaptable to most environments
* Large flowers from June through August
* 18 - 24 inches tall
* USDA zones 3-9
Sedums - Sedum spp.
Lime Zinger Sedum-Ground cover sedums are one of the most vibrant and robust plants to consider planting in a hellstrip. Related to many succulent species, they thrive in these hot, arid environments by storing water in their leaves. Ground sedums are ideal for hellstrips, as they can take the heat and the occasional traffic from people getting out of their cars. There are a multitude of varieties that will slowly spread and cover your entire area - consider planting patches of each for an exciting and vibrant patchwork feel.
* Prefers dry, well-drained soil
* Bloom from summer into fall
* Full sun to partial sun
* Evergreen characteristics
* 6 inches tall
* USDA zones 3 to 11, depending on species
Varieties to consider:
* Angelina Sedum - chartreuse green to orange in fall, yellow flowers
* Red Carpet and Cherry Tart - red tinted foliage, pink flowers
* Lime Zinger- flat green foliage with red tips, pink flowers
Cranesbill geraniums - Geranium sanguineum
New Hampshire Geranium
These cranesbill geraniums are not the annual zonal geraniums you purchase for your containers - these geraniums are hearty and ready to take on whatever challenges your hellstrip throws at it, no matter the season, once established. Their bright flowers will be sure to bring a smile to your face, even in the hottest days of summer.
* Bloom late spring to early fall
* 12-18 inch spread
* Red fall color
* Full sun
* Very adaptable
* USDA zones 3 through 8
Daylilies - Hemerocallis spp.
Strawberry Candy Daylily
With a plethora of colors to choose from, daylilies are hearty plants that will thrive in almost any environment. Thin strappy foliage and flowers that bloom all summer long, and easily transplanted, divided, and cared for, daylilies are ideal for this hot, arid environment between sidewalks and streets.
* Wide range of colors available
* Up to two feet tall
* Summer blooming
* USDA zones 3 through 9
Black Eyed Susan - Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii
Goldsturm Black-Eyed Susan
Known for its survival in prairies and relatively dry soils, black-eyed Susan is a perennial that will thrive in your hellstrip year after year, with bright flowers blooming all summer long. Beloved by pollinators, but rejected by most pests, this plant requires little input to keep it in tip-top shape.
* 18-24 inches tall
* Bright yellow flowers with black centers
* Blooms in the summer
* Extremely adaptable to most soils
* USDA zones 3-8
Walker's Low Catmint - Nepeta x faassenii 'Walkers Low'
An extremely drought tolerant plant, Walker's Low Catmint has silvery leaves that release a pleasant odor when crushed. Tolerant of most conditions, this perennial will thrive in your hellstrip. Shearing it back will encourage new growth, and is incredibly easy to manage.
* Silvery-green foliage
* 18 to 24-inch spread
* Small purple flowers in the spring
* USDA zones 3-9
Bugleweed - Ajuga spp.
Chocolate Chip Ajuga
With dark foliage and bright purple flowers, Bugleweed provides a drought tolerant groundcover that will thrive in a hellstrip location. With some weed-suppression skills and resistance to most pests, this plant is a pollinator favorite when blooming. Enjoy the ground-covering quality of this perennial, and the contrast it provides to your landscape.
* Dark purple-brown foliage
* 4-6 inches height
* 12-18 inches spread
* Bright purple flowers in spring
* USDA zones 4-9
Creeping Thyme - Thymus praecox 'Coccineus'
A subtle groundcover, this perennial is well suited for hellstrips. Fragrant leaves and bright pink flowers make this plant an essential plant for any landscape - especially with some light traffic. Creeping thyme will withstand moderate traffic, making it ideal for planting in a hellstrip where there might be occasional foot traffic.
* 3-4 inches tall, 10-12 inch spread
* Fragrant green foliage
* Pink flowers in spring
* USDA zone 3-9
Blue Glitter Sea Holly - Eryngium planum 'Blue Glitter'
Blue Glitter Sea Holly
Blue plants are rare to find within the landscape, but blue glitter sea holly fits that bill. Best suited for hot, well-drained soils, this perennial brings a pop of blue to any landscape. Unique, blue star-shaped flowers appear and last quite a while as a cut flower or on the plant itself.
* 6-8 inches tall, 8-12 inches spread
* Blue flowers in summer
* Blue foliage
* Adaptable to most soils
* USDA zones 4-8
With wild colors and low profiles, these plants will thrive in your hellstrips, and won't be bothered by the hot environment. These are only a few selections - there are a lot of other plants available that can be used for these incredibly challenging environments.
In the dead of winter, when the landscapes are barren, it can be difficult for wildlife to find food to survive, especially in urban areas. Instead of having critters getting into your trash can looking for a meal, why not consider providing them a buffet in your backyard? Read on for nine plants that can provide for wildlife during the winter.
1. American Persimmon - Diospyros virginiana (pictured below)