Tip of the Week: Using Annuals as Screens - Horticulture

Tip of the Week: Using Annuals as Screens

The majority of gardens have something that needs screening from view—an oil tank, a compost bin, a neighboring house. There are two ways of using annual climbers to make a quick and colorful screen.
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The majority of gardens have something that needs screening from view—an oil tank, a compost bin, a neighboring house. Quick screens using annuals are particularly necessary in new gardens to provide privacy and much appreciated color until permanent plantings become established. Long-term screens using perennials can also be used to divide a garden into smaller areas, or simply to serve as a living backdrop for other plants.

There are two ways of using annual climbers to make a quick and colorful screen, and the choice will depend on how advanced your planting is:

1. If your garden is brand new and you haven’t set up a permanent trellis, you can place stout rustic poles at 6 to 12 foot intervals and staple cheap plastic bean netting to the posts. At the end of the season, when your annuals begin to die back, you can simply cut the netting and the plants down in one pass.

2. If trellises are already in position and you’ve installed a permanent planting of climbing roses or other perennial climbers but they have not yet climbed very high, you can run annual climbers up the trellis. It takes a little more time to clear away their spent growth at the end of the season, but in the meantime they’ll look so good you may be tempted to keep growing annuals even after your perennial climbers are established.

Read about recommended annual climbers

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Crazy about Annuals? Check out Annuals for Every Garden , the guide Annuals, and Horticulture's very special Gardener's Essentials: Annuals CD