Note: Plants for use in your tree strip/curb strip [the area between the sidewalk and the street which belongs to the city but which property owners are responsible for maintaining] can be obtained for free from Urban Resources Initiative's Greenspace program (via the Yale School of Forestry), 230 Prospect St. 432-6570 or 432-6189 www.yale.edu/uri The only requirement is that you work with a group of neighbors. The minimum size of a "group" is 3. You also can simply work with an existing group. In City Point we presently have one active Greenspace group. The contact person is Chris Schaefer 203-668-6348 email@example.com
Even when time and money are short, just taking care of your tree strip lets everyone [including mischief-makers] know that YOU care about your home, your street, your neighborhood.
1. Get rid of the grass. It doesn't hold up to people getting in and out of cars or bicycles that stray from the sidewalk, it is difficult to grow under mature trees, and grass requires lots of environmentally-unfriendly maintenance to look good . [But please don't replace the grass with concrete or asphalt! New Haven needs more green spaces and less ugly, barren-looking spaces.]
2. Use raised planters. This protects your flowers from foot, dog and bicycle traffic [but not from squirrels!] There are many books available through the public library on designing and maintaining a planter garden. Visit www.iconn.org to see the holdings of every library in Connecticut. If a title interests you, you can use this site to borrow the book and have it delivered to your local public library. [New Haven limits interlibrary requests to two per month.] City Point residents might find it most convenient to have requested books sent to our new Wilson branch at the corner of Washington Ave. and Howard Ave., near Yale-New Haven Hospital.[Note: interlibrary loan program is suspended for 2011 fiscal year.]
3. Put shade-loving plants and flowers (e.g. hostas, coral bells, vinca) at the base of any tree that's in your tree strip. The tree also serves as a barrier to protect the plants.
4. Fill the tree strip with low shrubs which also deter foot traffic.
The photos below--all taken right here in City Point--illustrate these ideas:
[Click photos to enlarge and see descriptive captions.]