Sunday, September 7, 2008


Most of us have a strip that lies between the sidewalk and the road. For most it is just a few feet wide, which of course presents a challenge, and there is rarely a water supply. Cars pass by blowing their fumes on the plants. In all it is a struggle and rightly named the death strip. For the past 3 years we have spent a week in Salt Lake City. Our reason is the largest collection of genealogical records in the world, located in the LDS Family History Library. It is here that we, along with hundreds of others, search through the records for our ancestors. Walking to the library I was struck by the "death strip" in front of their conference center.

Walking along beside the stream certainly had a cooling effect on a hot day.
Adjacent to the LDS conference center the center of the road is planted with cactus agave and native plants.

Not the usual planting for the middle of the road.

As we were leaving the city we passed an incredible site. On the corner of the road someone had created an incredible vegetable garden. Zucchini, pumpkins, beans were all thriving in the death strip. Admittedly it was a little wider than the ones I have seen around here. I saw someone watering , stopped , and ran back, camera in hand.

Gina, the owner of the garden, was gracious enough to spend time chatting with me about her achievement. She introduced me to her chickens and would not let me leave without one of her white pumpkins. So far Gina has managed to do her gardening without the city taking her to task. She has expanded her garden onto an adjacent piece of land where there is a large billboard. With the owners permission of course. I think it is a wonderful story and far from a "death strip."


  1. Wow, those are definitely death strips no longer. Beautiful. I don't know about eating veggies from this area though, what with car pollution and doggie deposits, etc.

    The top pics remind me somewhat of the Austin airport's landscaping just outside the parking garage. There's a stream, some big rocks, lovely xeric plants and grasses. I always have to stop for a look, even when I'm in a hurry to catch a flight or pick someone up.

  2. Like Pam, I looked at the photos and thought 'Wow!'...and my second thought was no way I'd grow anything in our parkway; all I see all day are dog walkers and stray cats.

    But as an idea it's charming, Jenny!
    I have and Ancestry subscription, so have read other stories of people spending part of their vacations visiting the Salt Lake archives and the other part visiting cemeteries around the country. My researches haven't taken me to those lengths as yet!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  3. Parkway is a much nicer word Annie. I hadn't thought about the dogs and cars- however, is it much different from pesticides and herbicides and modified crops? I don't think there was any space for dogs as the planting was so thick.
    We have done the graveyards and spent hours with microfilms and fiches.( I never heard of fiches until I started genealogy!) Salt Lake Library should be on everyones visit list for the shear magnitude of their records. So much easier than doing it in England.

  4. Those rights-of-way look fantastic!

    We don't have a sidewalk, but I'm always a little annoyed by dog-walkers (and I AM a dog owner) who allow their dogs to stomp up to 8 feet into our yard from the street.

    However, I realize I can't control that, so I've made a point of putting super-hardy (and inexpensive) plants in that street right-of-way area.

    That's impressive you went all the way to Salt Lake for your research! So far, I'm too lazy to do that but have also been lucky enough to benefit from my grandmother's research! (She says we're descendants of William Wallace's brother.) Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. We only go to Salt Lake on our way to Idaho. It is so much easier going wherever you want when you are carrying your own house with you. The LDS have records of just about every church in the UK as well as census records. I even found my GG Grandfathers death certificate there. No one told me that I wasn't the first to come to America. He came to Brooklyn in 1886 and was buried there. His wife had died some years before. I think he must have had a relative here because he was in his 60s. It was an exciting find.

  6. Thanks for finding our blog and pointing out another guerrilla gardener. Gina's garden looks beautiful! We hope our gardens will turn into such towering greenery.

    Your garden also looks like a beautiful place. We would love it if you would be an advisor to the Garden Posse. We're all young gardeners in our experimental phase, so we could really use advice on plants, planting, propagation, etc. Let me know if you're interested in staying in touch.