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The back fence border


Houston back fence border Oct 2018

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, swerves around the 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

Agastache mexicana (Mexican hyssop)
Allium texanum (Texas onion)
Ampelaster carolinianus (climbing aster)
Amyris madrensis (mountain torchwood; Sierra Madre torchwood)
Amyris texana (Texas torchwood, chapotillo)
Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii (flame acanthus,hummingbird bush, Wright's desert honeysuckle)
Asclepias curassavica (tropical milkweed; bloodflower)
Asparagus densiflorus 'Myersii' (foxtail fern)
Asparagus densiflorus 'Sprengeri' (asparagus fern, emerald fern)
Baptisia sphaerocarpa (yellow baptisia)
Bauhinia galpinii (red orchid tree; pride of de Kaap)
Bauhinia lunarioides (Anacacho orchid)
Berlandiera texana (green eyes)
Bulbine frutescens
Caesalpinia pulcherrima (pride of Barbados)
Calceolaria mexicana
Callaeum macropterum (butterfly vine; orchid vine)
Callirhoe papaver (woodland poppy mallow)
Cercis canadensis (Eastern redbud)
Chrysanthemum hybrids (garden mum)
Citrus reticulata 'Owari' and 'Okitsu-Wase' (satsuma)
Citrus x aurantiifolia (Key lime; mexican lime)
Clarkia purpurea ssp. quadrivulnera (four-spotted purple clarkia; winecup clarkia)
Clematis hybrids
Coreopsis lanceolata (lance-leaf tickseed)
Cosmos bipinnatus
Cosmos sulphureus (yellow cosmos)
Cupressus arizonica var. glabra 'Carolina Sapphire' (Arizona cypress)
Cycas revoluta (sago palm)
Desmanthus illinoensis (bundleflower; prairie mimosa)
Dianthus short hybrids (pink)
Dietes bicolor (African iris)
Dietes iridioides (African iris)
Duranta erecta (golden dewdrop, pigeonberry)
Ebenopsis ebano (Texas ebony)
Erythrina crista-galli (coral bean)
Eupatorium capillifolium (dog fennel)
Freesia alba
Freesia grandiflora
Freesia laxa 'Joan Evans'
Galphimia glauca (thryallis)
Gaura lindheimeri
Gazania hybrids (Gazania)
Gelsemium sempervirens (Carolina jasmine, false jessamine)
Gerbera jamesonii (gerbera daisy; Transvaal daisy)
Gloriosa superba (gloriosa lily; glory lily)
Habranthus robustus (Argentine rain lily)
Habranthus tubispathus (copper lily)
Hamelia patens (firebush; scarlet bush)
Hesperaloe parviflora (red yucca)
Hippeastrum hybrids (amaryllis)
Iochroma cyaneum (blue trumpet flower)
Ipomoea hederifolia (ivy-leaf morning glory)
Ipomoea quamoclit (cypress vine)
Iris domestica (blackberry lily)
Iris tectorum (Japanese roof iris)
Iris x louisiana (Louisiana iris)
Ixora coccinea (flame of the woods)
Justicia brandegeeana (shrimp plant)
Justicia spicigera (firecracker plant, Mexican honeysuckle)
Kniphofia hirsuta (torch lily; red hot poker)
Lagerstroemia indica 'Rubra' and 'Red Rocket' (crape myrtle)
Lantana camara (common lantana)
Leucojum aestivum 'Gravetye Giant' (summer snowflake)
Lilium (lilies (various species and hybrids))
Lycoris radiata (surprise lily; red spider lily)
Magnolia 'Jane'
Manettia cordifolia 'John Elsley' (firecracker vine)
Mirabilis jalapa (four o'clocks)
Mirabilis longiflora (angel's trumpets)
Muehlenbeckia axillaris (creeping wire vine)
Nandina domestica (heavenly bamboo)
Nerium oleander 'Hardy Red' (oleander)
Nicotiana mutabilis (flowering tobacco)
Olea europaea 'Arbequina' (olive)
Oxalis brasiliensis (Brazilian oxalis)
Oxalis regnellii (lucky shamrock)
Papaver persicum ssp. tauricola
Passiflora 'Victoria' (passionflower)
Passiflora edulis (passionfruit vine)
Pelargonium quercetorum
Penstemon tenuis (Gulf Coast penstemon)
Phyla nodiflora (Texas frogfruit; turkey tangle fogfruit)
Plumbago auriculata (plumbago)
Polygala fruticosa 'Petite Butterflies' (sweet pea shrub)
Pontechium maculatum
Porophyllum ruderale (papaloquelite; yerba porosa; summer cilantro)
Pseudogynoxys chenopodioides (Mexican flame vine)
Punica granatum (pomegranate)
Rosa - miniatures (rose)
Ruellia simplex (low-growing variety) (Mexican petunia)
Russelia equisetiformis (scarlet firecracker plant; coral plant)
Salvia 'Love and Wishes' (ornamental sage)
Salvia blepharophylla (eyelash-leaved sage)
Salvia coccinea (scarlet sage)
Salvia leucantha
Salvia microphylla 'Hot Lips' (ornamental sage)
Salvia moorcroftiana x indica 'Shangri-La'
Salvia pentstemonoides (big red sage)
Scutellaria ovata (heart-leaf skullcap)
Senecio mandraliscae (blue chalk sticks)
Sisyrinchium angustifolium (narrow-leaf blue-eyed grass)
Sisyrinchium rosulatum (annual blue-eyed grass)
Stachytarpheta cayennensis (blue porterweed)
Tagetes lemmonii (copper canyon daisy; Lemmon's marigold)
Talinum paniculatum (jewels of Opar)
Tecoma stans 'Sparklette' (esperanza; yellow bells)
Tecomaria capensis 'Sunset' (cape honeysuckle)
Thelesperma filifolium (greenthread)
Trichostema dichotomum (blue curls)
Tulbaghia violacea (society garlic)
Turnera ulmifolia (yellow buttercup; yellow alder; sage rose)
Vitis vinifera 'Tempranillo' (tempranillo grape)
Zephyranthes citrina (rain lily)
Zephyranthes dichromantha (rain lily)
Zephyranthes fosteri (rain lily)
Zephyranthes Labuffarosea group (rain lily)
Zephyranthes macrosiphon (pink rain lily)
Zephyranthes morrisclintii (rain lily)
Zephyranthes primulina (rain lily)
Zephyranthes reginae (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

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

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Last modified: June 27, 2020
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