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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)
Cassia nemophila (desert cassia)
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)
Eucalyptus cinerea (silver dollar eucalyptus; argyle apple)
Ficus carica (fig)
Freesia laxa 'Joan Evans'
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)
Papaver persicum ssp. tauricola
Pelargonium quercetorum
Plumbago auriculata (plumbago)
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)
Scutellaria suffrutescens (pink skullcap)
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

Acis nicaeensis (winter snowflake)
Agapanthus africanus (lily of the Nile)
Allium lusitanicum (German garlic)
Antirrhinum hispanicum (Spanish snapdragon)
Babiana tubiflora
Dierama trichorhizum (fairy wand)
Gloriosa modesta
Lilium regale 'Album' (royal lily; regal lily)
Prospero autumnale (autumn squill)
Tigridia chiapensis
Verbascum phoeniceum 'Violetta' (purple mullein)

Currently growing in the left fence nursery area - zone B

Allium sibthorpianum
Allium texanum (Texas onion)
Amorpha nana (dwarf false indigo)
Andryala agardhii
Antirrhinum molle (dwarf snapdragon)
Asphodeline lutea (Jacob's rod)
Chasmatophyllum musculinum
Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora
Cunila origanoides (dittany)
Gladiolus tristis (sword lilyl; marsh Afrikaner)
Habranthus robustus (Argentine rain lily)
Habranthus tubispathus (copper lily)
Prospero autumnale (autumn squill)
Zephyranthes drummondii (rain lily; giant prairie lily)

Currently growing in the left fence nursery area - zone C

Agave lechuguilla (lechuguilla; tula ixtle)
Agave polianthiflora (tuberose-flowered agave)
Agave striata (narrow-leaf century plant)
Agave x amourifolia (century plant)
Agave x pseudoferox 'Bellville'
Allium lusitanicum (German garlic)
Bergeranthus vespertinus
Cassia nemophila (desert cassia)
Draba arabisans (rock whitlow-grass)
Draba cretica (whitlow-grass)
Echinocactus texensis (horse crippler cactus; devil's head; chisos hedgehog)
Habranthus tubispathus (copper lily)
Hesperoyucca whipplei (chaparral yucca)
Kniphofia fluviatilis (river poker)
Kniphofia hirsuta (torch lily; red hot poker)
Penstemon palmeri (Palmer penstemon; balloon flower)
Prospero autumnale (autumn squill)
Scutellaria suffrutescens (pink skullcap)
Yucca baccata (banana yucca; Spanish bayonet)
Yucca brevifolia (Joshua tree)
Zephyranthes drummondii (rain lily; giant prairie lily)
Zephyranthes katheriniae (rain lily)
Zephyranthes macrosiphon (pink rain lily)
Zephyranthes morrisclintii (rain lily)

Currently growing in the left fence nursery area - zone D

Agave bracteosa
Agave loferox 'Stairway to Heaven' (century plant)
Agave striata (narrow-leaf century plant)
Agave univittata
Agave victoriae-reginae (Queen Victoria agave)
Antirrhinum hispanicum (Spanish snapdragon)
Bergeranthus vespertinus
Calliandra eriophylla (pink fairy duster)
Eryngium agavifolium (agave-leaved sea holly)
Gladiolus carneus
Gladiolus tristis (sword lilyl; marsh Afrikaner)
Habranthus robustus (Argentine rain lily)
Lessertia frutescens (balloon pea)
Nolina texana (bear grass, sacahuista)
Opuntia engelmannii var. cyclodes (western prickly pear)
Pelargonium auritum
Penstemon parryi (Parry's penstemon)
Penstemon pinifolius (pine-leaf penstemon)
Pontechium maculatum
Scutellaria suffrutescens (pink skullcap)
Tetramerium sp.
Teucrium hyrcanicum (Caucasian germander)
Zephyranthes dichromantha (rain lily)
Zephyranthes drummondii (rain lily; giant prairie lily)
Zephyranthes katheriniae (rain lily)
Zephyranthes macrosiphon (pink rain lily)

Currently growing in the front fence nursery area - zone A

Dyckia sp.
Gladiolus carneus
Hesperoxiphion peruvianum
Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel)

Currently growing in the front fence nursery area - zone B

Aquilegia nevadensis (columbine)
Arisaema serratum var. mayebarae (Jack in the pulpit)
Asphodeline lutea (Jacob's rod)
Babiana angustifolia
Cyclamen persicum (mother's day cyclamen)
Diplacus grandiflorus (bush monkeyflower)
Eucomis zambesiaca (pineapple lily)
Hesperantha baurii
Potentilla atrosanguinea (cinquefoil)

Currently growing in the front fence nursery area - zone C

Babiana angustifolia
Bloomeria crocea (golden stars)
Calliandra eriophylla (pink fairy duster)
Cyclamen persicum (mother's day cyclamen)
Eucomis vandermerwei (dwarf spotted pineapple lily)
Gelasine elongata (dimpled iris)
Gladiolus priorii
Hesperantha baurii
Othonna capensis (hardy yellow iceplant; little pickles)
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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