A Cleveland Pear Tree for the Devil's Strip

What's that strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street called?  I've thought about that a few times...and I can't remember what we called it when I was growing up.  You know, I don't think we called it anything!  I don't have even a single memory in which I recall even talking about it! 

A couple years ago I Google'ed it (geeze, is that how you even spell it?) and found some thoughts here.  There's a couple interesting terms in there, but really - I LOVE the Devil's Strip!  Apparently it's a regional term used in Akron, Ohio but I think it's cool enough that in the last few years I've taken to calling it that myself.  I know it's a total affectation, and almost always have to explain it when I use it in conversation - but I'm a one man crusade to see if we can get the Devil's Strip adopted nationwide!  Or at least in my little circle of friends!

Aaaaanyway...when we bought 173 back in '97, there were three HUGE maple trees in the devil's strip out front and on the side (173 is a corner lot).  The trees were beautiful but they were old.  Probably as old as 173 itself.  I hated to do it, but every time there was the slightest wind, branches came down.  One huge branch actually hovered but about three feet over the front porch.  It just made me nervous.  So I called the city a few times about having the trees trimmed but never got a response.  Back in those days the Mayor had a radio show on the local AM station and he took calls from the good citizens of Albany.  I saw my chance!

One Friday morning I called to speak to the Mayor.  I told him about the trees and the fact that I had called the city a few times with no response.  He put me on hold and the next commercial break he took my name and address and apologized for the lack of response.  Well, the very next Monday I came home from work and wha-la!  The trees were gone!  I mean gone!  Stumps and all!  It wasn't what I had in mind, but it was probably best.  And besides, we kind of liked the fresh, open look.
Eventually, the city went through the neighborhood and planted more trees.  In the devil's strip out front they put in a Bradford Pear...

Random internet pic of a Bradford Pear tree.

We asked the city not to put any trees in the devil's strip on the side of the house because we wanted to choose what kind of trees to put in and where. We figured we would do that when we were ready.  Well, in the fall of 2011 we were finally ready so we put in a cherry tree and a Fringe tree.

Wonderful.  Beautiful.  Right? Wrongo!!  I HATE that Fringe tree.  It has an extremely slow growth rate so every time I look at it, it reminds me that I'll be long since in the ground before it's big enough to really be called a tree.  A few weeks ago, weeks after everything else was in full bloom, that stinkin' Fringe tree still hadn't even budded.  It looked dead (reminding me once again of that inevitability) and so I made an executive decision...OUT with the Fringe tree!

But we wanted a tree in there.  It was time.  Off to Lowes!  The selection a few weeks ago was pretty good, and after a few days of obsessively studying out urban treescaping (Microsoft Word is telling me that's not a word) I decided on ... on ... another pear tree!  Oh I can be such a creative thinker!  Buuuut...my obsessive studies lead me to realize that the Bradford pear had some issues and the Cleveland pear (a cultivar of the Bradford - ha! makes me sound smart doesn't it?) was a good improvement.

I had to show you this...

I love my little Versa!

And here's the new Cleveland pear tree...all ready to give shade and beauty to ol' 173!

PS:  I did call the Mayor's radio show the next week to thank him for his prompt assistance!

PPS:  That low-down, dirty-rotten Fringe tree is safe and sound in a pot awaiting decision on a new location.
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