Hellstrip Gardening


Hi, I live in Oshawa (5b/6a). I’m thinking of planting up my hellstrip with some things. It is completely covered by snow in the winter and gets some salt The strip faces south, with a young Northern Red Oak. Two of my main goals are to attract pollinators and incorporate native plants. What do you suggest that can be cut back in the fall so it doesn’t get in the way during the winter, and how can I plant it up so that it doesn’t look too “mangy”

Thank you in advance


Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners. It’s really great that you want to create a garden that attracts pollinators with native plants on your “hell strip”.   Creating a garden between a side walk and road can be a challenge but with the right choices you will create a beautiful area which is healthier for the environment. There are many resources to help you in your quest. To find out more about pollinator gardens please refer to: A Toronto Master Gardeners Guide to a Pollinator garden – https://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/gardeningguides/pollinator-garden-a-toronto-master-gardeners-guide/
Also this previous Toronto Master Gardener post on native plants lists many useful links: https://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/wp-admin/post.php?post=23503&action=edit
This link provides  a list of native plants that tolerate salt: http://wildonesrrvc.org/Documents/Misc/Salt_Tolerant_Natives.pdf
To avoid a mangy look in the garden perhaps avoid the tallest species of native plants; add grasses that provide lasting interest and some annuals such as salvia bloom all summer.
Finally if you put in an internet search for images of gardening on the hell strip or verge many examples of hell strip gardens will come up. There is also a book entitled Hell strip gardening: Create a paradise between the sidewalk and the curb by Evelyn Hadden that will help you with your design. Good luck with your hell strip garden.