Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Greenwalking Queen Anne March 11, 2009

Every time I visit a different neighborhood in Seattle, I try to remember to take my camera along to record what gardeners have got going on in their parking strips (aka hell strips, planting strips, tree lawns, or nature strips).

When I met the other blogger in the family for a lovely Thai lunch on Queen Anne Hill on a sunny day last week, we made sure to build in enough time for a postprandial stroll so that I could check out the neighborhood’s late-winter gardens.

Queen Anne is one of Seattle’s oldest and most beautiful neighborhoods. We walked around its northern reaches, which are full of stately (and pricey) homes that mostly feature very manicured gardens. I’m guessing that quite a few folks in this neighborhood hire out their gardening tasks, but it was a pleasant surprise to find as many street gardens as I did in just a quick survey, including many planter boxes that look like they’d be full of edibles come summer.

This well-constructed, multi-level raised rock bed was just off Queen Anne Avenue, the area’s main drag.

Parking strip raised rock bed

Raised beds with drip systems:

Raised beds

Parking strip flower garden, beginning its run with crocus and daffodil bunches:

Spring bulb fiesta

Funny gumdrop shrubs (very old-school):

Sheared shrub gumdrops

Hell strip rose garden!

Parking strip rose garden

This looked like it might have been a recent design/install job. I had to resist the urge to test out to bridge to see if it was “real”:

Bridge to nowhere

I’m going to try to put up a second post about the trees I encountered, as this neighborhood has a wide variety of mature species. I also want to go back when things are a bit further along in the planting/blooming cycle, and see more of the inventive ways people have carved out a little more garden space.

150 years is the blink of an eye in some parts of the world, but around here it counts as incredibly antique! To learn more about the neighborhood’s past, visit the Queen Anne Historical Society site.

Thai restaurant botanical window decoration

(Curly branch window screen at the next table over.)


9 Responses to “Greenwalking Queen Anne”

  1. Racquel Says:

    We have neighborhoods like that here that have historical interest as well as interesting landscapes. Look forward to seeing how that area looks further in the garden season. Thanks for sharing your walk with us. 🙂

  2. RainGardener Says:

    Enjoyed that. I lived in Queen Anne in 1968. I remember the big snowstorm and we went down Queen Anne Avenue in innertubes and anything else that would slide. Only once though – I wasn’t walking back up that hill again!!! Nice neighborhood though.
    The Curley Branch window screen was interesting.

  3. Catherine Says:

    I love Queen Anne, what a great neighborhood. I used to drive through there a lot as a visiting nurse. I remember seeing the little ladies picking up the chestnuts in all the front yards to sell in the International District.
    I think you should’ve tested out that bridge!

  4. Benjamin Says:

    I’ve been debating whether or not to do something with my hell strip in my new subdivision. Hardly anyone else even has foundation plantings, just sod, so this would be two or three steps beyond (plant some trees people! Even just one!). I was thinking of letting some dogwood have a go at it, but that’d probably be two dry. Even some grasses, like priarie dropseed and indian grass and bluestem. I may debate this all summer long–but I sure like what some folks have done by you.

  5. Melanthia Says:

    Oh how I love some of the gardens in QA, and the houses! Wowsuh. That little bridge is too cute. Add it to my list of “fun for the little guy.” Next time your near my ‘hood you should give a call. We can scout hell strips together.

  6. Grace Says:

    I love your posts. There is so much to learn from observing how other gardeners (or staff) create their landscapes (including hell strips). This is why I love garden tours. I look forward to more of your photos.

  7. Megan Says:

    Ha! Look at those curly window branches! Never seen anything like that screen.
    I don’t understand gumdrops.

  8. Aerie-el Says:

    Fascinating! I love seeing your photos of the variety of what people come up with for these ‘hell strips’. Gumdrop shapes are just wrong, but the bridge and trees and dry stream bed are all right and so striking!

  9. easygardener Says:

    I like the rock garden around the tree and the little bridge garden.
    Not sure about the raised beds…looks like someone has dropped them there by mistake. Surely the hosepipe bringing water will have to run across the pavement where people walk.

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