When I was first designing my backyard landscaping, I took some printed photos of the bare space to a number of Master Gardeners and their associates for their opinions. One of them actually started cussing out loud when he saw just how small my yard was. "&%$#, that's just awful - you better be sure to include a few patches of climbing vines along that fence to interrupt the visual continuity, because it looks like a prison courtyard," he said.
OK - I just love unabridged opinions like that!! And I'm glad he put it so starkly because it's a landscaping element that I might not have otherwise included.
I have tried a couple of vines over the years but not with a lot of success. My personal favorite is trumpet vine slash cross vine (I can't tell the vernacular difference between the two, but here are some stunning pics of "cross vine" by Austinite Pam Penick). However, these don't seem to always grow very well or very fast in our Clear Lake soils. Jasmine is also wonderful, but it has never grown well for me. It either dies or just sits there and does nothing.
I decided to give corkscrew vine a chance, because I love the unusual purple flowers.
|It flowers without any encouragement or care.|
|These little buggers. They are everywhere in greater Houston. If corkscrew vines are prone to insect infestations, these have kept this problem from manifesting in ours, because they love living within the leaves.|
If you want to make yourself miserable with vine control, plant a wisteria instead. I made that mistake at my house in north Clear Lake, and I used to get nasty notes from the neighbors (it was a corner lot, so the fence flanked the sidewalk). Wisteria is very pretty but it grew far too aggressively and if you accidentally brushed up against it, the spines could draw blood.
Corkscrew vine won't survive a heavy frost, but will typically come back from the roots if killed (and this also speaks to invasive potential - if they can't survive frost, invasive potential is limited). This has happened to us one time since we moved into Centerpointe about three years ago. Then I had an hour or two of work to tear the entire dead vine off both sides of the fence and dispose of it (in the compost, of course), but it grew back immediately.
Here's another potential advantage of corkscrew vine: They are good for noise attenuation. If your neighbor has an a/c compressor and/or a swimming pool pump just on the other side of your shared fence, planting a vine like this can help to dull the sound of it. It forms such a thick blanket on BOTH sides of the fence that it has an insulating effect.
I bought our corkscrew vine for seven bucks at Houston Garden Center during their annual 70% off sale. Can't beat it.
And with that, I wish you a happy Monday.
|One final pic of those flowers, because they are really wonderful.|