Don’t rein in the magic when shrubs such as ‘Nikko Blue’ hydrangeas put on a boisterous show. Plant them on the street side of the fence for all the neighbors to see. Granted, folks will be jealous, but share a bloom and they’ll soon get over it.
Other hydrangeas, such as ‘Annabelle,’ ‘Bella Anna,’ ‘Endless Summer,’ ‘Incrediball,’ ‘Limelight,’ and ‘Snowflake,’ are just as good. A sturdy, white fence provides a classic backdrop for a dynamic display.
While some azaleas are petite, Southern Indica hybrids such as ‘Formosa’ can grow as big as a bus. The short picket fence in front tames the azalea just a bit while also framing the blossoms during the week or so the shrub is in bloom.
After that, the fence will help define space. You can create the same sort of effect with other vigorous spring-flowering shrubs such as forsythias, spiraeas, loropetalums, mock oranges, flowering quinces, and weigelas.
Unlike walls, most fences aren’t solid, so plants don’t have to choose one side or the other. Perennials and reseeding annuals can start out on one side, spread by roots or seeds through the pickets, and bloom for you on the other side too. Black-eyed Susans are great for this.
Other good choices include asters, bearded irises, bee balms, daylilies, four o’clocks, goldenrods, mums, phlox, purple coneflowers, Queen Anne’s lace, and spider flowers.
Vines and sprawlers need something to climb, and what better structure than a pretty fence?
Climbing roses such as ‘The Fairy’ are matches made in heaven, but don’t overlook other worthy candidates such as ‘Amethyst Falls’ American wisterias, bougainvilleas, Carolina jessamines, clematis, Confederate jasmines, crossvines, cypress vines, hyacinth beans, mandevillas, morning glories, passion vines, and trumpet honeysuckles.