I am a big fan of privacy. I don't like my daily life looked upon, and I take the utmost care to keep my activities to myself. That being said, at my previous house I spent way too much money on a privacy fence. It was great and provided the stealthy living I prefer. But when I moved to this home, a privacy fence was not possible. That is because the lot is so large, the project would have literally broken the bank. So I did the next best thing. I planted screening plants. They don't afford the view block a privacy fence does, but they do minimize any snooping.
I don't see very well, and the thought that a neighbor is peeking over at me without my knowing creeps me out. So, I like to have a secluded back yard where I don't have to worry about unwanted voyeurs. Also, it gets very hot here and I don't need the neighbors commenting on my gardening garb.
Since the privacy fence was out, I moved starts from my clumping bamboo, and some baby pampas grasses I had been raising. Coupling these with some wild cranberry bushes that were free from my Mom, we are private-ish along one fence line. This seasonal hedge screens that side but does nothing in winter when the leaves fall. However, I don't worry about that since I am rarely out in the dirt farm during the cold season.
Another neighboring fence sports Miscanthus and some shrubs. Ornamental grasses are one of my favorite groups of plants. These also form a seasonal hedge, but the same rule applies. I am not out there much and it doesn't matter if some peeping goes on. Our other main visual break is the back of the house. There is an alley and a home across from it. I keep thinking about getting some fast growing hedge plants but I am in no hurry. The new family that bought the home are never outside. Even the kids play in the front. Also, they have a deck that looks out over our back yard, so I would have to plant some seriously tall trees to block their view.
One thing I did plant to restrict the neighbor's view was hops. I have some outdoor shelved trellises that I erected in front of my patio. They close off the view a bit, but I wanted something more for when we are lounging out there. My brother-in-law suggested hops. I knew they were fast growing and could be trained over the trellises. Once I sourced a bine, I was amazed. You can watch hop bines grow. I'm not kidding. Every day sees them adding more length. And when the cones come, there is a slight musky aroma as they dangle appealingly from the bines. As fall nears, the cones develop a tinge of pink.
Another of my privacy plants is my beloved sunflowers. My favorite flower -- we have them everywhere. They get huge and mass in clusters that effectively conceal our gardens. Every year these hardy giants come back from dropped seed. By June, our garden is so crowded with them, we essential have a secret garden hidden from prying eyes.
Keeping some sense of secrecy around my garden is essential in a tiny town. People are horrid gossips here and very curious about everyone else's business. With my natural hedge plants during the time of year we are out of doors, I can feel confident no inquisitive eyes have any gossip material on me.
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