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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.

codfishcake Sat 27-Apr-13 10:01:22

when we had this with a neighbours wall, we painted the brick (did ask permission first) a cream colour, fixed 3 pieces of trellis to the wall, then built a trough at the bottom and planted 3 jasmine plants.

Roshbegosh Sat 27-Apr-13 10:12:26

The painted brick and trellis sounds great and if clematis was happy there you could put new ones in. Different varieties will extend the flowering time and they grow very quickly. They will be established in no time. There is an evergreen variety with a slight apple scent and white flowers. If you put that in with a purple on it would look nice.

notjustamummythankyou Sat 27-Apr-13 10:17:42

Thanks both.

Love the idea of jasmine too - hadn't thought of that! And troughs would make it much easier - the strip of soil we've been left with really is very poor.

Would clematis be OK in such a small area, or would that be better in a trough too?

carameldecaflatte Sat 27-Apr-13 10:24:01

The soil next to a wall can be very dry so a trough sounds good or perhaps a small wall that you could fill with better soil? Honeysuckle, passionflower, jasmine, rose?

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 (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.

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!).

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

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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??

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

No worries bran - all great ideas!

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.

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!

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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 ...

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

Would jasmine or honeysuckle be ok in a pot?

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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

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!

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.

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.

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?

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


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.

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