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The back fence border


Houston back fence border Nov 2017

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 pond.

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

Aeonium species and hybrids (true houseleek)
Agave lophantha (hardy century plant)
Aloe 'Blue Elf' and 'Hedgehog' (aloe)
Amaryllis belladonna (belladonna lily; naked ladies)
Ampelaster carolinianus (climbing aster)
Aristolochia fimbriata (white-veined pipevine)
Aristolochia watsonii (Watson's pipevine)
Asarina procumbens (trailing snapdragon)
Asclepias curassavica (tropical milkweed; bloodflower)
Asparagus densiflorus 'Myersii' (foxtail fern)
Asparagus densiflorus 'Sprengeri' (asparagus fern, emerald fern)
Basella alba (Malabar spinach)
Bauhinia lunarioides (Anacacho orchid)
Berlandiera texana (green eyes)
Bougainvillea spectabilis (paper flower)
Bulbine frutescens
Caesalpinia pulcherrima (pride of Barbados)
Caladium bicolor (angel wings)
Callaeum macropterum (butterfly vine; orchid vine)
Callirhoe papaver (woodland poppy mallow)
Callistemon salignus (willow bottle brush)
Callistemon viminalis 'Little John' (dwarf bottlebrush)
Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide' (sasanqua camellia)
Chrysactinia mexicana (damianita)
Chrysanthemum hybrids (garden mum)
Citrus reticulata 'Owari' and 'Okitsu-Wase' (satsuma)
Citrus x aurantiifolia (Key lime; mexican lime)
Clematis hybrids
Coreopsis 'Tequila Sunrise' (hybrid tickseed)
Coreopsis lanceolata (lance-leaf tickseed)
Crossandra infundibuliformis 'Orange Marmalade' (firecracker flower)
Cuphea 'Vermillionaire' (firecracker plant)
Cupressus arizonica var. glabra 'Carolina Sapphire' (Arizona cypress)
Cycas revoluta (sago palm)
Delosperma cultivars (ice plant)
Dianthus short hybrids (pink)
Dietes iridioides (African iris)
Duranta erecta (golden dewdrop, pigeonberry)
Dyckia sp.
Ebenopsis ebano (Texas ebony)
Erythrina bidwillii (coral bean)
Euphorbia x martinii 'Ascot Rainbow' (spurge)
Evolvulus glomeratus (dwarf morning glory)
Galphimia glauca (thryallis)
Gasteria carinata var. verrucosa (ox tongue)
Gaura lindheimeri
Gelsemium sempervirens (Carolina jasmine, false jessamine)
Gerbera jamesonii (gerbera daisy; Transvaal daisy)
Gynura bicolor (Okinawan spinach)
Habranthus robustus (Argentine rain lily)
Hamelia patens (firebush; scarlet bush)
Haworthia fasciata (zebra plant)
Hesperaloe parviflora (red yucca)
Iochroma cyaneum (blue trumpet flower)
Ipomoea hederifolia (ivy-leaf morning glory)
Iris sibirica (Siberian iris)
Iris x louisiana (Louisiana iris)
Jasminum sambac 'Maid of Orleans' (Arabian jasmin)
Justicia brandegeeana (shrimp plant)
Kalanchoe beharensis x tomentosa 'Fang' (elephant's ear kalanchoe; velvet-leaf kalanchoe)
Kalanchoe humilis 'Desert Surprise'
Lagerstroemia indica 'Rubra' and 'Red Rocket' (crape myrtle)
Lantana camara (common lantana)
Lantana montevidensis (trailing lantana)
Leucocoryne purpurea 'Andes' and 'Spotlight' (glory of the sun)
Leucojum aestivum 'Gravetye Giant' (summer snowflake)
Lilium (lilies (various species and hybrids))
Lycoris radiata (surprise lily; red spider lily)
Lycoris squamigera (resurrection lily)
Magnolia 'Jane'
Mandevilla x amoena 'Alice du Pont' (pink allamanda)
Mangifera indica 'Mallika' (mango)
Melampodium leucanthum (blackfoot daisy)
Mesembryanthemum cordifolium (heart-leaf ice plant; baby sun rose)
Mirabilis jalapa (four o'clocks)
Muehlenbeckia axillaris (creeping wire vine)
Nandina domestica (heavenly bamboo)
Nerium oleander 'Hardy Red' (oleander)
Olea europaea 'Arbequina' (olive)
Oxalis brasiliensis (Brazilian oxalis)
Oxalis regnellii (lucky shamrock)
Oxypetalum coeruleum
Passiflora 'Victoria' (passionflower)
Pennisetum species/cultivars (fountain grass)
Penstemon 'Cherry Sparks' (beardtongue)
Penstemon baccharifolius (rock penstemon, cut-leaf beardtongue)
Penstemon schmidel 'Red Riding Hood' (beardtongue)
Pericallis 'Senetti Magenta Bicolor' (florist's cineraria)
Phlox 'Paparazzi Paris'
Plumbago auriculata (plumbago)
Plumeria alba (white frangipani)
Polianthes tuberosa (tuberose)
Porophyllum ruderale (papaloquelite; yerba porosa; summer cilantro)
Portulaca grandiflora (moss rose)
Punica granatum (pomegranate)
Rhodophiala bifida (oxblood lily)
Rosa 'Knockout' series (Knock Out rose)
Ruellia elegans (red ruellia; false petunia)
Ruellia simplex 'Mayan White' (Mexican petunia)
Russelia equisetiformis (scarlet firecracker plant; coral plant)
Salvia 'Love and Wishes' (ornamental sage)
Salvia 'Wendy's Wish' (ornamental sage)
Salvia coccinea (scarlet sage)
Salvia greggii (autumn sage)
Salvia guaranitica 'Black & Bloom' (ornamental sage)
Salvia longispicata x farinacea 'Mystic Spires Blue' (ornamental sage)
Salvia microphylla 'Hot Lips' (ornamental sage)
Salvia roemeriana (cedar sage)
Salvia uliginosa (bog sage)
Sansevieria concinna (snake plant)
Scutellaria wrightii (purple skullcap, Wright's skullcap)
Sedum ussuriense (stonecrop)
Selaginella braunii (arborvitae fern)
Sisyrinchium rosulatum (annual blue-eyed grass)
Tagetes lemmonii (copper canyon daisy; Lemmon's marigold)
Talinum paniculatum (jewels of Opar)
Tecoma stans 'Sparklette' (esperanza; yellow bells)
Tecomaria capensis 'Sunset' (cape honeysuckle)
Tithonia rotundifolia (Mexican sunflower)
Tulbaghia violacea (society garlic)
Turnera ulmifolia (yellow buttercup; yellow alder)
Verbena peruviana 'Enduro Blue'
Vitis vinifera 'Tempranillo' (tempranillo grape)
Watsonia borbonica 'Bedazzled' and 'Cherry Splash' (bugle lily)
Zephyranthes Labufarosa group (rain lily)

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

The bit to the right of the pond, November 2017

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Last modified: November 24, 2017
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