I need some advice for what to plant in my garden beds along the southern part of my Northern fence. The catch-22 I have is in in Summer, the suns angle means the plants will pretty much get full sun. But in Winter, when the sun's angle means it will be obstructed by our 2m boundary fence and the plants will effectively get no Sun light.
I have built a raised garden bed and also have a garden bed just below the deck line.
We're currently in October (so mid spring), and I've done some measurements from the top of the bed to the height at with there is contact with sun light. You can see from the photos below for the raised garden bed, this is around 50cm and for the lower part, this would be around 1.5m in height. Of course in winter, this will be much higher.
In terms of width of space available for planting, the thinner part of the raised garden bed is around 35cm, and the wider part around 42cm (it starts of thinner and gets wider as you go along as the fence line is at a slight angle to the deck. The lower part is around 36cm.
On the lower part, I was hoping to put something taller, that would grow to around 2m to cover the height of the fence and look good against the grey. I was initially thinking Lilly Pilly, I love the mix of colour of the green and reddish leaves. But am worried it will die in winter (I was also told the space is too thin for Lilly Pilly - though I'm happy for it to grow over the deck a little). And then I was also thinking of something shorter, perhaps some tall grasses or something, to plant in between the taller plants to create some layering.
I'm also very open to the idea of everygreen fruit trees, such as citrus, etc (if they can tolerate the position)
On the raised garden bed, I'm really unsure of what to plant there. I was considering something with a bit of utility, such as blueberry or maybe some other veges ... but not sure how good these will tolerate no sun in winter. Primary goal though is aesthetics, so nothing disidous, as it needs to look good in winter too. I'm hoping also for something that will grow up to 1m tall to again create that backdrop against the grey fence. I'm also not averse to attaching a wire frame of sorts to the fence posts for the plants to grow up against.
I believe the soil type for the lower deck is a sandy loam (based on my non-expert analysis of sand in a glass bottle with water!). I haven't yet checked the pH. The raised bed I've actually layered the bottom with hard matter, branches, etc. Someone told me about hugelkultur, so I looked into it and thought I'd recycle the plants and trees I cut down before. On top of this, I will add some of the sandy loam soil I dig out from elsewhere, and then I'll top the last 1/3rd with organic matter soil (and add organic matter soil to the top 15cm of the lower bed).
Would love some assistance here.
It's a relatively limited space to plant in there, but a compact Lilly Pilly like Acmena smithii could be suitable if you give them regular prunings. They cope well in full sun, can tolerate heavy shade and grow from 3-5 meters. A Sasanqua Camellia would also be an option. Fruit tree wise, I'd struggle for suggestions on something that is going to thrive with full shade in Winter.
Another thing to remember is that the plants are going to be hard up against the Colorbond fence. During Summer, the fence will heat up and radiate an immense amount of heat back onto the plants and potentially scorch their leaves. Have you considered turning this planter into a terrific bench seat and creating raised planters elsewhere in a location that gets more sun during Winter?
Hey @MitchellMc Thanks for the advice. I can't open the compact Lilly Pilly link on the bunnings site. I've been looking at the Camellia too. Both are great options. I'm lucky that on the lower deck onwards, the neighbour has a bunch of stuff against the fence, so it should minimise the heat. But not by the raised bed.
I've though about using it as a bench seat, but I need to get some colour in there. It's a good call out though, didn't think of the heat off the fence.
I wonder if putting something like this against the fence by the raised bed will reduce the radiated heat:
Also wonder whether it would look good. It's cheap enough to be ok to buy 1 and see. How would you recommend attaching something like this?
All the locations with sun are against the house, which is utility space for house.
I've just updated the link to another compact Lilly Pilly Acmena smithii. See if that works for you.
Adding Eden 1.8 x 3m Bark Screen Fencing will help prevent heat transfer to the plants, and it will look fantastic. I'd suggest fixing Buildex 10g x 16mm Monument Metal C4 HexHead No Seal Tek Screws into the Colorbond fence posts inline with the top, middle, and bottom of the screen. You can then run horizontal lengths of Whites 1.25mm x 30m Galvanised Tie Wire between the screws. Make sure you pull the wire taught before twisting it off around the screw head. Once you have your three guide wires, you can fix your screening to them with cable ties. The screening has wire running through it to hold the individual pieces together. Wrap the cable ties around this wire and the one you installed on the fence.
Alternatively, you could screw some Woodhouse Weatherproof 42 x 18mm 5.4m DAR PR4 H3 LOSP Treated And Primed Finger Jointed Pine Mouldin... to the fence posts and then screw the screen onto it.
Great, thanks for updating the link.
Yeah, that makes sense. I like the tie wire idea.
Do you know if that Bark screen can be cut to size (It's only around 1.1m from the planter to top of fence and no space behind, or does it only have 3 wires holding it together?
The bench seat is a great option but perhaps you could consider potted season colour in that area, swapping the pots out at the end of each season as the flowers start to fade. Coming into summer, pots of marigolds, petunias, zinnias or mixes of these would look good. Over winter, pansies and in spring, bulbs like anemones and ranunculi. Lots of opportunities!
I agree with Mitchel re the lillypilly and/or sasanqua camellias.
No, it has wires every 10cm or so, I believe. You'll be fine cutting it to height @Itai.
Very tricky spot @Itai
As @MitchellMc points out the fence can cause issues with radiant heat.
I would be thinking about creating some sort of structure to take climbers and growing perhaps star jasmine as it's tolerant of sun & shade. If possible keep it away from the fence to reduce heat issues so add posts etc towards the middle, or even front, of the garden bed.
Otherwise, as @Noelle suggested, just rotate through seasonal annuals.
Would Bambusa Malingensis Seabreeze Bamboo work in this location? I know these plants can withstand low temperatures, but I'm not so sure if the radiant heat from the fence will be good for it. What are your thoughts on this plant as a cover for the fence?