Climbing plants Gardening Hedges

Turn Your Fence Into a Hedge

A pack of morning glory seeds are all it took to turn this chain link fence into a narrow, blooming hedge for the summer. Source: Kelly Crocker, pinterest.ca

A chain-link fence (Frost fence) is strong, long-lasting … but not very attractive, especially when it begins to rust. Often the owner will plant a hedge in front of the fence to hide it, but what a waste of garden space! In addition, wire mesh behind the hedge makes pruning the hedge difficult. And lets face it: hedge plants are expensive and you need lots of them.

Yet it is possible to convert a chain-link fence into a hedge very quickly and at a low price: just let annual climbers such as scarlet runner beans (Phaseolus coccineus) and morning glories (Ipomoea nil and others), or perennial vines, such as Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) or grape vines (Vitis spp.), cover it.  

Simply sow annual climbers at the bottom of the fence (one seed pack will probably be sufficient) and let them grow. They climb all on their own, wrapping their twisting stems around the wire mesh. Youll probably have to buy perennial vines in the form of plants, but youll need only one quarter the number of plants as a hedge would have required. And they too will cover their fence all on their own. Youll end up with a hedge as high as the fence that completely hides the view of the yard next door, but that is extremely narrow, taking up little garden space and this is one hedge that self-prunes, as climbers will stop growing in height once they reach the top of the fence.

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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