2017-12-01 / Home & Garden

Concealing a fence line with shrubs

Stopping to smell the flowers
By Arlene Marturano

Trying to mask a necessary but unsightly fence can be easy with the right selection of plants. Since fall is shrub planting season, below is one sample of a do it yourself project for a weekend in the garden.

Yewtopia, Cephalotaxus harringtonia ‘Plania’, is a 3-4’ high and wide slow growing shade-loving evergreen plum yew with a compact upright growth habit requiring very little pruning. Morning sun to shade is perfect. Space plants 3’ apart for a hedge.

Plum yews are native to shaded woodland areas of Japan, northeastern China and Korea. Plum yews are called “yews for the south.” Cephalotaxus harringtonia was introduced to Europe in the 1820s.

Although adaptable to a range of soils, Yewtopia thrives in moist, sandy, well-drained soil. The yew-like conifer is heat tolerant and drought resistant as well as pest and disease resistant. Landscapers use it for hedges, mass plantings, borders, and as an accent. The dark green, delicate, needlelike foliage provides a unique texture in the garden year round and contrasts with the foliage textures and colors of many other types of plants. Yewtopia will provide a green fence with very little maintenance.


‘Pink-a-Boo’ is a sport of ‘Yuletide’ with a sweet fragrance. ‘Pink-a-Boo’ is a sport of ‘Yuletide’ with a sweet fragrance. If you prefer to have more color along the hedge, at least part of the year, add camellias to the fence line, sasanquas in the fall, or japonicas through the winter.

Two choice camellias for a profusion of semi-double pink fall flowers are Camellia sasanqua October Magic® Orchid and Camellia sasanqua Dixie. Both specimens grow 5-8’ tall and wide and prefer full to partial shade and humus rich well-drained soil. The glistening smooth serrated evergreen leaves of camellias are an interesting contrast to the needle-like foliage of the plum yew.


‘Yuletide’ flowers from November through January ‘Yuletide’ flowers from November through January Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’ is a late autumn into the Christmas season bloomer with single bright red blossoms centered with sunshine bright stamens. ‘Yuletide’ prefers filtered sun and matures to a height and width of 8-10’. Camellia sasanqua ‘Pink-a-Boo’ is a deep pink seven petaled sport of ‘Yuletide’ with a deliciously sweet fragrance. When planting camellias in fall, hold off fertilizing until spring.

When hiding an unsightly fence with a living one, follow these tips:

• Use vertical evergreen plants

• Check the mature height of the plants before buying

• Select plants that vary in height to create layers

• Choose plants that add color for at least one season

• Vary interest with textural contrasts



Camellia sasanqua October Magic brings a profusion of semi-double pink fall flowers. Camellia sasanqua October Magic brings a profusion of semi-double pink fall flowers.

Camellia sasanqua ‘Dixie’ is aka Pink Stella Camellia Camellia sasanqua ‘Dixie’ is aka Pink Stella Camellia

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