Wildflower Wednesday: Hellstrip Garden

If you’ve ever had a strip of bare soil between the sidewalk and the street, you’ve had a hellstrip. On most cities, these are a “no man’s land”. They belong to the city but the city won’t take care of them. Some cities don’t care if you take them over as part of your garden, some cities do. Our small city likes it both ways.

wildflowerwednesday hellstrip

Recently, they repaired the sidewalk and water main at the pictured hellstrip. This is one of the hellstrips on our corner lot at church. The city added more dirt to the strip but nothing else. Every time it rains, the dirt washed away. With permission from our deacons, the Wonder kids and I planted wildflower seeds and covered them with mulch.

I had several packets and bag of wildflower seeds. I’m a seed hoarder with grand plans. Thankfully, I finally found some plans for my wildflower stash. This is one of the bags. Our “custom” mix includes packets from Garden Havest Supply, Botanical Interest, freebies from US Fish and Wildlife and US Forestry Service, Burpee, and Marex. All of the seed packets were for wildflowers native to our zone. Yes, I’m a seed junkie.

First we had to get the soil scratched so the seeds would hold. After a few weeks of getting pounded by feet and rain, what soil that was left needed a little disturbance.

We scattered the seeds all over the scratched areas. The Wonder Kids were fairly heavy-handed. That’s fine because the soil is quite sandy.

We had some leftover soil/sandbags from Hurricane Matthew. We scattered that soil over the seeds to give them a little covering. Plus, the hellstrip needed a little more soil after the most recent rain.

Once all that was done, we spread some cypress mulch. Cypress is good for our area since we’re generally located in a watershed and marshy area. ┬áNormally, you don’t mulch wildflower seeds but given the sandy soil and impending deluge, I mulched.

And then I ran out of mulch before we’d covered everything. Urgh. I made a quick run for more mulch. I ended up getting some pine straw. When we got back to the church, one of the deacons and a fellow church member helped spread the straw. It started raining on us as we finished up.

Here it is, all done and dusted….er…done and mulched.

Our church cleaning crew is quite happy to have the hellstrip mulched. It’s amazing how much extra dirt from that small area was tracked in. Hopefully, we’ll have beautiful wildflowers come spring with one less hellstrip for the city to maintain.

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