Gardening on the border

Here’s where the blocks taken from the wall went, separating
my planted hellstrip from the grassy neighbor’s part of it.

To the left is what the border looked like originally.

Above, what it looks like as of mid-summer.

The initial purpose of this low “wall” was to keep the invasives in my front yard from sneaking into my neighbor’s yard. See my original post for what I refer to as my “zipper” wall, because it looks kinda’ like a zipper.

I have thugs like chameleon plant (Houttuynia cordata), gooseneck loosestrife (Lysimachia clethroides) and Chinese lanterns (Physalis alkekengi). They’re all invasives, that being the polite term. Left to its own devices, the chameleon plant alone would take over the neighborhood. Together, they’re like a gang of hoodlums, scoping the neighborhood for gardens to invade, plantings to plunder.

I had the zipper wall built by a landscaper. No way was I going to transport, dig, backfill with gravel and sand, and lift each granite block a dozen times, to get them placed just right. It’s now been there a few years. It seems to be holding the invasives at bay. For now.

But as I created my adjacent hellstrip garden (the area between sidewalk and street), I wanted blocks there, too, to separate the hellstrip into mine and theirs. “Theirs,” being the neighbor’s property. And being a fussy designer, I wanted the hellstrip wall to be of the same materials as the garden border wall.

I decided to take out every other granite block from the zipper border wall and use them in the hellstrip, which conveniently left “planters” in the voids of the garden border wall. (Note: They were as heavy as I imagined them to be. Money well spent to have the landscaper do the original work.)

In each void, I planted something different, a couple different sedums, some hens & chicks, and an over-wintering cactus given by a friend that’s had about a dozen places to live over the years. Hopefully this is its final resting spot, so to speak. It seemed to be happy there this summer.

Here it is, newly planted up.
And here it is towards the end of the summer.
Some sort of sedum.
Hens & chicks. They seem to like tight spaces, so this will fill out fine after a few seasons.
The over-wintering cactus has found its forever home (it hopes).

I have a long-time garden blog, a popular garden on America's largest garden tour, and have co-written a book on garden design titled, "Buffalo-Style Gardens: Create a Quirky, One-of-a-Kind Private Garden with Eye-Catching Designs" When I'm not doing all that, I am an advertising designer always out looking to design things to promote your business. Look me up at #jcharlier.

0 comments on “Gardening on the border

  1. I like it even better with the plants in the zipper.


  2. Bravo, it looks great! I like the idea of planting in the spaces between.


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