The Q&A Archives: curbside eyesore

Question: i have a 40ft long by 2 ft deep section along a curb of busy street which is mostly made up of weeds and gravel size rock.Im looking for any ideas on how to make it look appealing with out planting new sod.Living in illinois with the winter snow and snow plows throwing concrete and rock is an annual thing for this section.Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Answer: It sounds like a tough place to grow anything, but you can try some of the following: Broadleaf Purple ConeFlowers. The purple coneflowers will grow to 3 to 4 foot tall and you can place different varieties, white coneflowers or even Black Eyed Susans, which is another variety of the coneflower. Adding multiple colors of the coneflower will add visual interest. And the birds love to eat the seeds after it is done blooming. It is very interesting to see birds land on the big seed heads and begin to get their fill of the seeds.

Many people like the Day Lily which we all know seems to grow anywhere. It definitely will grow in a hot dry section of the sun loving perennial garden. The Day Lily comes in multiple colors, varying heights and different flower sizes.

Threadleaf Coreopsis, when it is in full bloom and you have 5 to 10 plants, it is like having a carpet of color. These are rather small in height and make great border plants.

Salvia has a beauty and charm all its own. I am amazed how long a blooming season it gives me each summer. It starts in late spring and will bloom to seed. But a few minutes cutting the seed tops and then in a couple of weeks it starts to bloom all over again. The Salvia is a real work horse and is a favorite of butterflies.

Another classic hot, dry, sun loving perennial is the Catmint. It will be nice to you even if you forget to water it and requires minimal care each summer. The blue (lavender) flowers show a nice soft color in your summer garden. Place it near the border or walkway as that way you can enjoy the wonderful fragrance of the Catmint.

Autumn Joy Sedum. This plant is also known as the Stonecrop because it seems to have the ability to grow right out of stone. The flowers look like little stalks of pinkish, red broccoli florets. I have mine next to the road and it has the capability to withstand, sun, dry, hot, windy, cold, snow and salt from the city's salt trucks. The Autumn Joy Sedum is perfect for a full sun garden.

Hope these suggestions are helpful.

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