En Español

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

Wednesday - January 27, 2010

From: Harker Heights (Bell County), TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Vines
Title: Need plants to cover a fence and retaining wall combination
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Recently we replaced our fence and I need help with plants to mask an 18 foot section of fence/retaining wall. The fence guy set the fence back about 10 inches from the top of the retaining wall which is made of railway ties and is 18 feet long by 12 inches high. Our neighbor’s property is higher than ours so his self made retaining wall of treated 4x4s is now exposed on my side of the fence. In between the 4x4s and the railway ties is a narrow strip of soil 4 inches wide. So if you can imagine a 12 inch high retaining wall made of railway ties with 4 inches of soil at the top, then 4x4s treated wood, and then a 6 foot wood fence with metal stakes………too much wood. We get full sun in the afternoon but our house provides natural shade for that section of the yard. Are there any native plants that can be planted that close to the top of the retaining wall?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants is having some trouble visualizing the situation; eg. how is your neighbor's retaining wall exposed on your side of the fence? Perhaps you could send us a couple of pictures. Go to our Plant Identification page and follow the directions for sending in photos. Refer to question # 5099 in your e-mail.

Since you seem to have a very narrow space for planting and for plant growth, I am going to suggest that you  plant vines which can grow to the top of the fence and then fall back covering the face of the fence.

Bignonia capreolata (crossvine) a popular flowering evergreen, but quite a vigorous climber and extender.

Campsis radicans (trumpet creeper) high climbing, aggressively colonizing woody vine.

Gelsemium sempervirens (evening trumpetflower)   also known as Carolina Jessamine. Has fragrant blossoms early in the season.

Lonicera sempervirens (trumpet honeysuckle) also known as Coral Honeysuckle. Has attractive red flowers,

Maurandella antirrhiniflora (roving sailor)  a small Texas vine. It can be used as a secondary vine along with Carolina Jasmine or Coral Honeysuckle and allowed to trail down the retaining wall. 

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper) inconspicuous flowers, but leaves provide early fall color. Berries are toxic to humans.

Wisteria frutescens (American wisteria) a high-climbing woody, deciduous vine,with flowers  in large, drooping clusters 6–9 inches long. Less aggressive than the Asian species.


Bignonia capreolata

Campsis radicans

Gelsemium sempervirens

Lonicera sempervirens

Maurandella antirrhiniflora

 

 

 

 

 

 




Wisteria frutescens
 

More Vines Questions

Vine for Marin County, CA
August 31, 2012 - Looking for relatively fast growing evergreen vine (not Ivy). Plant along sturdy 7 foot wire fence. Mostly sun, some shade. Soil drains reasonably well. I had some success w/ star jasmine, but too...
view the full question and answer

Vine for privacy on a deck in Southern California
December 10, 2009 - I am looking for a climbing vine/plant that is non-flowering and can be grown year round in Southern California. We are looking to help create a private area along a deck for my grandmother because h...
view the full question and answer

Blossoms but no fruit for gooseberries in Enoch UT
January 16, 2010 - My gooseberries always get loads of blossoms, but I never get fruit. I think they need more sun, and thus, want to transplant them to a sunnier location. What (and when) is the best way to do this?
view the full question and answer

Tip Dieback on Lonicera sempervirens
August 14, 2013 - I have a Lonicera sempervirens (coral honeysuckle) vine in Virginia which does well early in the season, but then around July, the very tips of its shoots (just the last 1-2 inches) wither, turn black...
view the full question and answer

Jelly from wild grapes with a few peppervine berries from Dunnellon FL
August 20, 2010 - Thank you for your quick response to my question. Due to your answer, I am going to make jelly from this juice.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center