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Best climber plants for privacy screen between front garden & street?

 
Shaz Jameson
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Posts: 125
Location: Hilversum, Netherlands, urban, zone 7
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Hi all,

Newbie, diving into permaculture and the wealth of resources on the forum.

We've just moved into our new house in the Netherlands and are hibernating this winter planning the garden. It is small (3m deep by 4.2m wide), and currently covered by bricks (will mulch).

The front of the house layout is literally: [[narrow street with several cars - knee high fence - 3 metres depth of brick - window into our living room]].

The question is - along the itty-bitty fence, we would like to put 2 sub-canopy trees and some climbers and big shrubs that will also act as a privacy screen, and some raised beds in front (hugel if I can find some wood).

I had originally planned for raspberries, but the thing is, they can't bush out onto the street-side because we're at the top of a T-junction and cars literally drive right past the street-side of the fence. There's a lot of kids in the neighbourhood that run and play in the street, and while I'm not worried about them picking berries, I'm more worried about big scratchy brambles and angry neighbours. So, tall, straight and narrow is what I'm thinking. Any suggestions or experiences?

Zone 7, sandy soil, full sun, nothing in the garden yet, so all options open pretty much.

All thoughts appreciated, thank you!
 
Angelika Maier
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Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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Raspberries are not that scratchy as other rubus species, but I'm not sure if you really want to eat that when there is a lot of traffic. You must bear in mind that most climbers for your climate are deciduous.
Hardy kiwi would be possible too (climate?) But you need something sturdy or it will break down. Kiwi is very pretty too, you need a male and a female the double grafted are not that good. There is a pretty hardy passionfruit which grows in North America. Actually, maybe you want more sun in winter and deciduous is not that bad after all? YOu could use beans or seven year beans as well or at least in the beginning until your perennials are big enough. If you plant that much in your front yard which seems to be smallish, you might have a problem with sun in your raised bed.
 
Shaz Jameson
pollinator
Posts: 125
Location: Hilversum, Netherlands, urban, zone 7
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Thank you for your thoughtful reply Angelika! You're right, it's the deciduous bit that is something that needs to be taken into consideration especially as regards to sunshine. I'm not sure sun in the summer is a problem but as this is the first year, we will have to experiment and see. Regarding traffic, there's not that much really. It's a quiet residential street, not a highway or anything, so I don't think exhaust fumes will be a problem for rubuses.

There's a passionflower growing up a trellis in the garden, and there's not been frost yet so the leaves have just withered. I will definitely look into beans.

Shot in the dark - is there something that acts more like edible ivy? Have been searching for evergreen climbers and perhaps I am out of luck...

 
David Livingston
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Location: Anjou ,France
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I must admit I was thinking passion flower but then you said you had some .
How about Kiwi ? Its big bold fruits and quite tough . Remember it may need you to plant both male and female though .



David
 
Shaz Jameson
pollinator
Posts: 125
Location: Hilversum, Netherlands, urban, zone 7
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Thank you David,

I am tempted by hardy kiwi (found info here )! However, I feel like if I do need to plant a male and female tree, I am limited by the small space I have to work with and then there is less room for other diversity. I want to jam as much diversity in there as possible! The eternal trade off.. I shall keep scouting around to see what is available and what other neighbours have.

Here in the Netherlands, space is limited, and there is a thing about have big open windows into the living room looking out onto the road. It seems people don't mind, to us as expats it's a bit weird. What is common though is to have espalier trees in the front yard (see image), often apple, so that's definitely part of the idea but again, stacking!


 
David Livingston
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Is that a pic of your space?
Holland is a centre for commercial fruit tree production so I am sure that buying espelliers should be no problem . Why not try a range of espelliers then grow climbers up them .

David
 
Shaz Jameson
pollinator
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Location: Hilversum, Netherlands, urban, zone 7
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It's not my space no, I found it online, but the space between the fence and the house is about the same at our place - ours is just not as wide. This is really, really typical in the Netherlands, our front fence is even the same.

I hadn't even thought of buying esparelles I was already getting mentally prepared to train them! Haha that's great, that will definitely be the way to go and grow climbers up them.

Thanks!
 
Tim Wells
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Location: Essex, England, 51 deg
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full sun so passion flower will establish in sandy soil and screen quickly but the crop is likely novelty at best.

Ivy will screen the best , evergreen and be the best wildlife plant for nectar and nest site.

Honeysuckle a great screen, some varieties are medicinal

Trachelospermum jasminoides is amazing evergreen and great scent

a grape vine - boskoop glory or segreibe, leaves drop dec-apr

Kiwi can get very big as can grape, so high maintenance, as is ivy - fast growing screening plant in small space = high mainenance

fan train a fruit tree or currant bush in front of evergreen screen, or instead if screening does not have to be complete.

hops could work if you brew your own beer, leaves drop like grape vine

hazel/ willow timber frame and annuals like nasturtium, beans, sweet peas

 
Shaz Jameson
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Posts: 125
Location: Hilversum, Netherlands, urban, zone 7
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Those are some great ideas Tim thank you very much! I like the different combinations, will probably go for a mix of all, although I especially like the chinese jasmine hadn't even thought of that!
 
Steve MacGregor
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Location: Atlanta, GA
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Shaz Jameson wrote:there is a thing about have big open windows into the living room looking out onto the road. It seems people don't mind, to us as expats it's a bit weird.


We lived there for a number of years when I was a teenager, and also thought it was strange behavior. One of the neighbors told us that only people with something to hide obscured their windows. It is a cultural thing that you may want to take into account before planting anything big.

 
Peter Ellis
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Location: Central New Jersey
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Might want to consider a Belgian fence. Sort of espalier, would take some time to establish, but would serve well and could be done with tasty fruit trees.
 
Deb Stephens
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Location: SW Missouri, Zone 7a
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Shaz Jameson wrote:
Shot in the dark - is there something that acts more like edible ivy? Have been searching for evergreen climbers and perhaps I am out of luck...


I know just the thing! Malabar spinach (also called New Zealand spinach). It grows prolifically up any support -- trellis, wire, trees, you (if you stand still long enough ) and will go as high as whatever you put up for it. (I have seen it reach the top of a 12' trellis, then reach sideways across a gap of several feet to grow up into a nearby tree.) It is beautifully lush and full, so makes a perfect screen, AND it is completely edible. Use the leaves and stems fresh in salads or cook like spinach. The growing tips are a pretty red and very plump, so if you cut them into 1" or 2" pieces, you can steam them like green beans. It laughs at heat and insects, has no diseases that I have ever found, and readily self-seeds. What more could you ask? Oh, and I am in zone 6b-7a, so I know it will grow where you are. Here is a good pic of some of it growing up a tower in a garden.



And a close up showing those fat red-purple stems...

 
Laura Sweany
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Location: Onalaska, Lewis County, WA
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You might also want to think about evergreen clematis- Clematis armandii- very aggressive grower, evergreen, and wonderfully fragrant flowers in midwinter.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Hi Shaz, welcome to the permies forums!
Hops got a brief mention, and I think they're great for summer shade and winter sun. I did not see where or if you mentioned which direction your windows face. I think that would make a difference. If they are south facing, then I think you'd be glad to have the sun shine in in the winter. With hops, they do die to the ground when the cold weather comes, but you can leave all the dry vegetationb in place. Mine turn a kind of rust color, and all the cones/ the dry flowers with the fragrant lupulin in them are there too. You could leave them in place if you did not want the bare look in the winter. ONe thing that's wonderful about hops is that they die to the ground, and in the spring, there is nothing that comes up faster. They really do grow a foot a day. then leaf out. They will come right up into last years dry stuff. What I have done is build a vertical trellis, then gone horizontal over to a roof, so that I get shae underneath. (I live in the desert, shade is good in the summer). After a few years you probably would want to pull it all down and start fresh, but you don't have to worry about pruning. once the bine 'goes to sleep' it won't use those stems again. It is great mulch, or goat forage.

What else about hops is that if you want, when you build some form of support for it to climb, you can make it as artsy as you want. You could make windows in the support so that you could look strategic directions, where there was something you wanted to see, from a particular chair in your living room, you could leave windows for people to look in to your space, but you could make the windows off set from your house windows..... all kinds of ways to play...

What I have build is vertical wood posts ( formerly tree trunks, but what ever you've got....) with horizontal members, then jute twine from the horizontals down to the soil. Hops are not like ivy or wisteria or clematis, with a means to hold on and attach. their stems are fough and they rely on friction. They wrap themselves around following the sun's direction of movement... if you help and twist them the "wrong" direction, the plant will untwist for awhile trying to get straightened out...

There are decorative varieties that have golden leaves, and not so many hops cones, or plenty of the kinds that the brewers use.

I did not see where anyone had mentioned blackberries. There are thornless varieties with delicious fruit.

I like the idea of an ever green clematis, there are several, but I do not know what their cold tolerance is. There are some nice cold tolerant ones, Clematis montana rubra is a species clematis with pink flowers in spring that will grow a long ways. If you do consider clematis, there are spring or summer flowering varieties, and the pruning varies by bloom times. Some clematis have medicinal uses

Which reminds me there are roses to consider. We had one where I grew up called a "barnyard rose" also called lady banksia. It can be a cream or a yellow color, yellow more common. It would need a support of some kind, my memory is they are thornless. They grow 20 feet or more in time. Not too hard to keep them cut back, but if you don't want to cut things back you could find climbing roses in other mature sizes. There are other thornless climbing roses too, in colors, with or without fragrance. Much larger variety of roses with thorns if that's not an issue. Some bloom only once a year, in the spring. Others bloom all summer. If you go for roses, there are uses for the petals beyond just loving their beauty.

keep us posted, I love to know what people decide, and steal good ideas and spread them around.

Thekla
 
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