But Halloween on my street is borderline scary, thanks to a collection of Victorian houses that might be slightly less spooky if I could find the money to paint mine, a density of housing that appeals to every little efficiency expert within a 20-mile radius, and a collection of neighbors who decorate their places to the hilt.
For example, I live next store to an animatronic figure named Sully who obligingly rips open his chest and shrieks every time somebody claps. My neighbor Greg, who drags Sully and half a dozen other equally ghoulish pals out of his basement every year, told me that he gave out candy to a thousand kids two nights ago.
So that means I did, too. And while the kids were collecting the candy, their parents were tromping on my hell strip.
This wouldn’t matter if the hell strip were grass, but two years ago, I got tired of dragging my mower out of the garage just for that dumb strip and was greedy for more places to plant. So I ripped the sod up and planted daylilies and two peach trees there, as well as an assortment of spring bulbs.
The bulbs are doing well, as are the peach trees, but the daylilies are really struggling. As I mentioned, they are ground into the dirt every Halloween. They also don’t seem to be growing much in my super-sandy soil, made even drier by the blazing southern exposure, the giant street trees on either side of my hell strip, and this year’s drought.
Also struggling is everybody who gets out of a car on my side of the street and doesn’t quite know where to plant his or her feet. The gardener herself is struggling, having restrain herself every Halloween from shouting, "Offa the plants, would d’ya?" while passing out candy and smiling through her teeth.
I’m suddenly thinking, my God, maybe a hell strip ought to be …lawn? Grass does serve a purpose after all. It allows people to walk on it. But since I so LOVE my purple crocuses and tulips tardiva there…well, write-in suggestions for the toughest possible ground cover for dry sun would be very welcome.