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The left fence border


Houston left fence border April 2020
Left fence border in April 2020, dominated by our huisache tree

Along all of the length of the fence between our home and the neighbors to our left runs our unimaginatively named left fence border. At the front end, it swings around for just a few feet to also buffer the front-facing fence – that section is called (you guessed it) the front fence border, but it is too small to warrant its own page, so is included here. The border completes (or starts, depending on your point of view) the line of garden that separates our ugly bermudagrass lawn from the functional fence that hems us in. The line separating the border from the yard swerves around a bit, giving the plantable area a maximum depth of about seven feet at the point where we planted our Texas persimmon, and down to about three feet at the narrowest. I'm sure that line will change through the years (it already has a few times), as my plant lust gets the better of me and I need more space. Virginia pine

The border will eventually be defined primarily by its trees. We planted several, all still fairly small. Near the front fence is a Virginia pine that we purchased as a winter house plant. It should do OK here, so I gave it a home outside when it had served its purpose indoors. It stayed quite small for a few years, but then entered a growth spurt and is starting to look like a tree now. Its mature size is almost certainly too large for the space it's in, but that's for later worry. Texas mountain laurel

Next in line to the right, just behind our seedling nursery area, is in the lawn area just outside of the border, is a Texas mountain laurel, grown from seed I collected from the campus of Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio; it bloomed as a three-year-old plant, and should continue to grow into a small tree. Hercules club

Continuing along the line, there's a Hercules club, a thorny native with wildlife benefits, and also a sizeable tree at maturity; followed by a showy senna (also a butterfly benefactor). Texas persimmon

The middle of the border is reserved for the Texas persimmon, a small tree that I admired when visiting Mercer Arboretum in Houston and tracked down at a local native nursery. We hoped it would eventually produce fruit, but later found out ours is a male specimen, so no such luck. huisache

Further to the right follows a huisache, a ferny-leaved acacia tree that should give us yellow puffballs to admire in early spring. fig tree The border is rounded out by two fig trees in the back corner that were among the earliest plantings in our brand-new garden. The Celeste and Brown Turkey varieties have been finnicky, giving us a nice harvest some years and barely any fruit to snack on in others – but they're always nice to look at as they leaf out in spring.

In between all these trees and shrubs are many herbaceous plants and smaller shrubs (some of which die back to the ground when we have harder freezes). Among the more notable are a blue butterfly clerodendrum that fights for space with a 'Big Momma' Turk's cap, a Texas sage, many rain lilies, and a variety of lower-growing plants that can handle some drought in the left end of the border.

This expanse is also home to several sections where I have established well-draining soil raised above the lawn level to grow on the various seedlings I start every winter. For the most part, seedlings live there for a year, to be moved the next spring to a permanent spot in the garden (or, for extras, to be offered in my occasional plant sales).

Currently growing in our left fence border

Acacia farnesiana (huisache; sweet acacia)
Agave gracilipes (slimfoot century plant)
Agave ovatifolia (whale's tongue agave)
Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii (flame acanthus,hummingbird bush, Wright's desert honeysuckle)
Argemone mexicana (Mexican prickly poppy)
Asclepias curassavica (tropical milkweed; bloodflower)
Baptisia alba (white false indigo)
Calceolaria mexicana
Calliandra emarginata (dwarf red powderpuff)
Callirhoe papaver (woodland poppy mallow)
Chamaecrista fasciculata (partridge pea)
Cleome hirta (sticky purple cleome)
Combretum indicum (Rangoon creeper; Chinese honeysuckle)
Coreopsis lanceolata (lance-leaf tickseed)
Cuphea viscosissima (blue waxweed)
Dasylirion wheeleri (sotol; desert spoon)
Diospyros texana (Texas persimmon; black persimmon)
Echeandia texensis 'Loma del Potrero Cercado' (Texas crag lily)
Encelia californica (coast sunflower, California brittlebush)
Eucalyptus cinerea (silver dollar eucalyptus; argyle apple)
Ficus carica (fig)
Freesia laxa 'Joan Evans'
Gladiolus tristis (sword lilyl; marsh Afrikaner)
Habranthus tubispathus (copper lily)
Hesperaloe parviflora (red yucca)
Hesperoxiphion peruvianum
Hippeastrum hybrids (amaryllis)
Lagerstroemia 'Midnight Magic' ('PIILAG-V') (crape myrtle)
Leucophyllum frutescens 'Greado' (Texas sage; cenizo)
Lilium formosanum (formosa lily)
Liriope muscari (lilyturf)
Malvaviscus x 'Big Momma' (Turk's cap; wax mallow)
Manfreda maculosa (deciduous agave)
Melochia tomentosa
Mesembryanthemum cordifolium (heart-leaf ice plant; baby sun rose)
Muehlenbeckia axillaris (creeping wire vine)
Nolina texana (bear grass, sacahuista)
Odontonema strictum (firespike)
Osmanthus fragrans f. aurantiacus 'Apricot Echo' (sweet olive)
Oxalis brasiliensis (Brazilian oxalis)
Pelargonium quercetorum
Plumbago auriculata (plumbago)
Prospero autumnale (autumn squill)
Rosa 'Speedy Gonzalez' (climbing rose)
Rotheca myricoides (blue butterfly)
Salvia coccinea (scarlet sage)
Salvia microphylla 'Hot Lips' (ornamental sage)
Salvia roemeriana (cedar sage)
Salvia texana (Texas sage)
Salvia uliginosa (bog sage)
Senna splendida (showy senna; golden wonder)
Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel)
Tetramerium sp.
Viguiera stenoloba (skeleton-leaf goldeneye; resinbush)
Yucca cernua (nodding Texas soapwort)
Yucca elata (soap tree)
Zamia integrifolia (coontie, Florida arrowroot)
Zanthoxylum clava-herculis (Hercules club; southern prickly ash)
Zephyranthes citrina (rain lily)
Zephyranthes drummondii (rain lily; giant prairie lily)
Zephyranthes sp. from Tamaulipas (rain lily)

Currently growing in the left fence nursery area - zone A

Kniphofia caulescens (red hot poker, torch lily)

Currently growing in the left fence nursery area - zone B

Aloe cooperi (grass aloe)
Anthemis cretica (Cretian mat daisy)
Calliandra eriophylla (pink fairy duster)
Diplacus grandiflorus (bush monkeyflower)
Dracocephalum canescens (dragonhead)
Encelia californica (coast sunflower, California brittlebush)
Felicia fruticosa (shrub aster)
Gazania linearis (treasure flower)
Phlomis bovei (Jerusalem sage)
Verbascum pyramidatum

Currently growing in the left fence nursery area - zone C

Agastache rugosa (purple giant hyssop)
Agastache rupestris (sunset hyssop)
Agave americana ssp. protamericana (century plant; American aloe)
Amsonia hubrichtii (narrow-leaf blue star)
Gazania linearis (treasure flower)
Zephyranthes minima (rain lily)

Currently growing in the left fence nursery area - zone D

Acaciella angustissima (white ball acacia; fern acacia; prairie wattle)
Agave americana ssp. protamericana (century plant; American aloe)
Agave loferox 'Stairway to Heaven' (century plant)
Agave toumeyana var. bella (fairy ring agave; century plant)
Albuca osmynella
Aloe cooperi (grass aloe)
Artemisia stelleriana (beach wormwood; dusty miller)
Asphodelus albus (white asphodel)
Bergeranthus vespertinus
Brodiaea elegans (elegant cluster-lily)
Chasmatophyllum musculinum
Dasylirion leiophyllum 'Guadalupe' (smooth-leaved sotol, desert candle)
Dasylirion wheeleri (sotol; desert spoon)
Eriophyllum lanatum (woolly sunflower, Oregon sunshine)
Gladiolus priorii
Kniphofia caulescens (red hot poker, torch lily)
Manfreda undulata 'Cherry Chocolate Chip'
Penstemon cobaea (showy beard-tongue)
Zephyranthes dichromantha (rain lily)

Currently growing in the front fence nursery area - zone A

Currently growing in the front fence nursery area - zone B

Agapanthus 'Headbourne Hybrids' and other hybrids (lily of the Nile)
Babiana nervosa (baboonflower)
Cyclamen mirabile (hardy cyclamen)
Hibiscus coccineus (scarlet rose mallow)
Hibiscus phoeniceus (South American mallow)
Roscoea scillifolia

Currently growing in the front fence nursery area - zone C

Antirrhinum hispanicum (Spanish snapdragon)
Babiana angustifolia
Cyclamen persicum (mother's day cyclamen)
Cyrtanthus epiphyticus (fire lily)
Gelasine elongata (dimpled iris)
Gladiolus priorii
Moraea comptonii
Prospero autumnale (autumn squill)

Some older photos of this area

The photos below were taken in November 2017, shortly after digging the new border and installing its first plant citizens.

Houston left fence border Nov 2017 Houston left fence border Nov 2017

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Last modified: April 17, 2022
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