How to cover my neighbour's blank wall (grr)

(30 Posts)
notjustamummythankyou Sat 27-Apr-13 09:58:42

We live in a semi and, last year, my next door neighbour built a 3m long extension along the party wall line. In doing so, she had to take down the partition fence, and our beautiful mature clematis went with it.

So, instead of glorious white flowers and greenery throughout the rest of the growing season, we have a brand new brick wall instead. Lovely.

As part of the party wall agreement, we were given compensation for losing our plants. I really want to cover the new wall and the neighbour has given us permission to do this. So, gardening gurus, may I ask a couple of questions?

The wall on our side faces east in a south facing garden. When the sun does shine, the garden is very sunny indeed. Apart from clematis, what else would grow well in this position? Ideally, I'd like something flowering, but I am open to suggestions.

How do I prepare the plot? We've been left with a 'bed' at the base of the wall which is just a foot wide at its widest point (it tapers slightly). We cannot make it wider, as we have a concrete patio just in front of the area. Would this be big enough for a clematis? There will be foundations / footings in the area now too - do I have to consider depth of soil too?

The soil is pretty poor in this area as it's now churned up with debris left from the building works. Apart from digging out all the stones etc, how else can I improve it?

Is there anything else I need to consider?

Apologies if these are really basic questions - I'm a total gardening novice as you can probably tell! Any advice most welcome and will probably stop me from weeping over my lost clematis.

onefewernow Mon 06-May-13 08:34:11

I favour the jasmine, as it is almost evergreen in many areas, spreads quickly, and is happy to be cut back.

Why not also include an evergreen for autumn and winter, such as cotoneaster?

Finally I would add a viticella clematis for contrast of flower size and colour- they come on a range of pinks, blurs and purples, and flower well.

Fishandjam Sun 28-Apr-13 18:59:20

Indeed. Imagine my chagrin when, after much time painting trellis blue (it was in the days of Ground Force, in my defence), carefully drilling holes into the wall, making sure I had the right size rawlplugs (I am not a DIY goddess), carefully measuring and predrilling my trellis, and then screwing it to the wall, I found it was utterly fucking useless as a plant support blush.

Ooh, I'd forgotten Solanum. I've got the purple one - hardier than the white variety, if that kind of thing's a concern.

Another climber to consider is the golden hop, Humulus lupulus aureus. Trouble is, it can be a thug. I want to get rid of mine as it's spreading like measles. One for a big container I think, rather than open ground!

notjustamummythankyou Sun 28-Apr-13 14:59:51

Fish - thanks for the tip! That wouldn't have occurred to me, but so obvious when you point it out.

hollyisalovelyname Sun 28-Apr-13 14:39:48

Solanum is great. Comes in a white flower and a purple colour. Really easy to grow

Fishandjam Sun 28-Apr-13 11:25:11

A tip re trellis (learned the hard way!) Screw or nail some small bits of wood onto the back of it, so that it stands proud of the wall (if that's where you're going to fix it). Or mount it on battens. Otherwise, you'll have a bugger of a job tying any plants to it (as it'll be flush with the wall).

codfishcake Sat 27-Apr-13 21:38:41

can i interject about painting the brickwork?, ours still looks fine 10 years on, hasn't needed any maintaining at all.

notjustamummythankyou Sat 27-Apr-13 18:33:35

Ah this is why I love mumsnet! Thank you all for your advice and suggestions. I feel really quite inspired!

Our neighbour has just come round with some trellis for us ... a start, at least! And I'm going to start getting quotes for a door Monday.

Thanks again

smile

funnyperson Sat 27-Apr-13 16:17:21

Yes I think this is a wonderful opportunity too!
If you plant something at the base of the wall then the roots will spread underneath the patio eventually, so will be sheltered from sun, so could be ideal for all sorts of clematis and passionflower.
I'm with whoever said dont paint the wall. It will look tatty after a while and will be difficult to repaint with plants up it.
What about a fan trained cherry?

WynkenBlynkenandNod Sat 27-Apr-13 15:23:15

I bought 'Geisha Girl' Chaenomoles recently as a house warming present for friend with large expanse of plain fence in her new house. It really caught my eye in the garden centre.

Fishandjam Sat 27-Apr-13 13:47:02

I love the bench idea bran.

Yes, my Chaenomeles is around a metre high but it's still growing. I've seen some that are much bigger too.

LadyMud Sat 27-Apr-13 11:51:44

I think you have a fantastic opportunity here, notjustamummy, to create a lovely sheltered spot. You've already received some great suggestions, and I would just add a couple of points:

How about getting a brickie in, to build a long raised bed, say 50cm high and up to 100cm wide? This would need to be a stand-alone structure, not actually touching the neighbour's wall. I'm visualising something like this. There's be some digging involved, which would remove some of the crappy soil, and you'd have over 50cm of new good soil.

Also DO NOT PAINT the brickwork, as it will require regular maintenance in the future. Perhaps attach trellises (with permission) or these could be freestanding inyour new raised bed.

Whatever you do, it's going to look fabulous - and much better than before!

notjustamummythankyou Sat 27-Apr-13 11:34:50

Thank you so much, bran. I can picture exactly what you mean. This wall is at right angles to our living room window, which is quite a large bay window.

I'd love to put a door in it out onto the garden. A little seating area just outside it with some nice scented plants would ne lovely on summer evenings. smile

bran Sat 27-Apr-13 11:22:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

notjustamummythankyou Sat 27-Apr-13 11:21:17

Would jasmine or honeysuckle be ok in a pot?

notjustamummythankyou Sat 27-Apr-13 11:19:01

Just had to look that one up, fish! The one I looked at only grows to about a metre high - is yours taller than that?

I get what you're saying about climbers in pots. Hmmm - decisions, decisions! I just don't know if the building work has left me with enough depth to work with once the new foundations have been taken into account. Will have to investigate ...

bran Sat 27-Apr-13 11:15:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Fishandjam Sat 27-Apr-13 11:04:52

I hate to contradict fellow gardeners, but clematis (or any climber) won't be happy in a pot unless it's a really big one. They need deep, cool root runs - if you think of their natural habitat, they grow in woodland/scrubland where their roots are very well shaded by the trees and shrubs they scramble up through. Even large pots get hot in sunshine. Though if you keep them well fed and watered, and shade the pots during hot weather with something like a piece of ply propped against them, you might be ok. Worth a try anyway!

Fishandjam Sat 27-Apr-13 10:58:18

One of the Chaenomeles varieties perhaps? Tough as old boots and very pretty in early-mid Spring. We have "Geisha Girl" growing against a fence in the alley that runs from our back garden to the front, just outside our back door. The soil is horrible, heavy sticky clay (the alley is entirely gravelled over membrane - I cleared a section and dug a big hole, then backfilled with compost after planting). It tolerates howling winds and little rain, and is just now bursting into hundreds of apricot-coloured blossoms.

notjustamummythankyou Sat 27-Apr-13 10:53:15

No worries bran - all great ideas!

notjustamummythankyou Sat 27-Apr-13 10:52:30

Where does the membrane go? At the back of the trough?

I guess that's one thing to be aware of: building up against the wall and potentially causing a damp issue inside next door's new extension. I suppose keeping the trough just clear of the wall should be ok??

bran Sat 27-Apr-13 10:52:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bran Sat 27-Apr-13 10:51:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

alienbanana Sat 27-Apr-13 10:38:25

We have Jasmine on an east facing wall and it grows really well and is lovely when it flowers. It survives winter well and just grows back if you have to cut it back quite harshly.

I'd build a trough over the bed to make it a bit deeper, and so you can add some soil. you'll also be able to plant more around the base of the climbers. Put a waterproof membrane at the back though.

What about honeysuckle

notjustamummythankyou Sat 27-Apr-13 10:38:09

Thanks rosh - yes, just been poring over the Crocus website! Good tip about the postage shock.

Clematis: Yes, I think i knew about keeping the foot of the clematis cool - feet in the shade, head in the sun or something?? (Or perhaps I just made that up!).

Roshbegosh Sat 27-Apr-13 10:31:27

You probably know already but you need to put stones or something around the clematis to keep its roots cool. Not sure whether all those plants will be happy east facing but they will tell you at the garden centre. You could pop a winter jasmine in for autumn colour. Roses will be fine and clematis was happy before in the spot. You could look at www.crocus.com (I think) but don't order from them as they send things one by one and charge postage each time. The site has good advice about planting though.

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