The back fence border
The back fence border is the primary part of our back yard
here in Houston – it runs all along the length of the fence that separates
our yard from those of the neighbors behind us. It meets up, as you might
imagine, with the left fence border on its left
end and the right fence border all the way to the right. In between, the
border veers inward and outward along a curvy line, includes a small rock
garden, and runs along the back of our waterfall
The fence at the back of the border is a little over six feet tall, and
composed of cedar slats attached to structural lumber. Ours is the "ugly
side", where the fenceposts and lumber horizontals are visible. Which isn't
so bad, really, because it gives us plenty of places onto which to attach
trellising structures. In time, we hope to see much less of the fence, when
vines cover a good part of it, and trees and shrubs obscure even more. So let's
talk about those vines and trees.
At intervals along the back side of the border, we have various plants
that want to grow upward with some support. Not all of them are really
vines, and they support themselves in different ways, but each one should,
if it establishes itself well, grow up along the fence, providing a variety
of flowers, foliage forms, and textures along that wall of cedar slats.
Starting at the left, there is a coral bean (Erythrina bidwillii). Not a vine, but will grow
six feet tall and its stalks can be pruned to result in a more or less flat
screen. Which is what I plan to do, because I don't want those thorny
stalks venturing too far away from the fence. Next in line is a Tempranillo grape, which is supposedly suited to
our climate. It has already climbed to the top of the fence, but I'm still
figuring out how to best support it.
An eight-foot-wide piece of lattice secured to the fence supports both a
malabar spinach plant that eagerly twists itself
upward, and a cape honeysuckle (Tecomaria
capensis 'Sunset') that is not a climber but gratefully accepts the lattice
support to lift itself up and over the height of the fence.
Moving rightward, we encounter an attempt at growing a clematis (not very
successful – I just don't think the climate is very suitable), followed
by a Carolina jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens) that used its first
season of growth to conquer its little trellis all the way to the top. There's
also a mandevilla in there somewhere, which is supposed to climb but has been
just sitting there like a little rounded shrub all year – perhaps our
unlabeled cultivar was a compact variety...
Next is a climbing aster (Ampelaster
carolinianus), recently planted and not yet inclined to climb –
I hope it does so next year. I guess the bougainvillea to its right is also
a vine of sorts, but we may keep it trimmed more mound-like.
The line is concluded by an Arabian jasmine (Jasminum
sambac 'Maid of Orleans') planted in a spot that's mostly shaded by the
live oak at the far right end of the border. It hasn't been in a hurry to
use the horizontal supports I provided to find a way up; I assume it will
become more vigorous in future years.
A little further out from the fence are a sequence of trees and large
shrubs that should anchor the border in years to come and provide an
interesting backdrop to all the other plantings we'll be incorporating into
the border as we continue to learn what we can grow around here. Again
moving from left to right from the left corner to the pond area, we have a couple
of fig trees (which I consider part of the left fence
border), a crape myrtle, a pomegranate, a Texas ebony, an olive, an
oleander, a lime tree, an orchid tree, and a duranta. The section behind the
pond includes a couple of satsuma orange trees, another oleander, and a
willow bottle brush. And finally, at the far right end, there's a live oak
that was planted by the landscaper before we bought the house. You think we
have enough trees?
Currently growing in our back fence border
A few more photos showing different views of the back fence border
Left end of the border, November 2017
Main area, November 2017
Connecting to the waterfall pond, November 2017
Extending to the right of the waterfall pond, October 2018
Some older photos, to see the progression...
The bit to the right of the pond was much narrower in November 2017
October 20, 2018