NEWPORT NEWS—Flowers make a difference ... even on the worst-looking fences.
Just ask Bea Dahlen of Newport News.
She used old-fashioned four o'clock and morning glory vines to transform an ugly privacy fence into an eye-catching wall of flowers.
"I have a privacy fence because of a back yard pool, and very close neighbors," she says.
"On our side of the fence, there is about one inch or less of soil, and a concrete driveway.
"I always hated this fence, until I tried covering it with flowers. I needed something that was heat tolerant and very hardy, so I tried four o'clock and morning glory. They thrive there.
"I wound fishing line up and down the fence to support the vines and to prop the four o'clock.
"Now I have blossoms and greenery all day. It may not be the neatest of gardens, but it certainly beats looking at that ugly fence."
Bea is one smart gardener. So often, we want to tear things down, rip them apart, and start over. Sometimes a little ingenuity goes a long way, saving time and money.
When you think creatively and resourcefully, you come up with some amazing results -- like Bea's reclaimed beautified fence.
MEET MORNING GLORIES
Botanical name: Ipomoea
Description: Mornings and evenings bring out the best in these old-fashioned flowering vines. They smell good and ask for nothing more than a little sun and moderate moisture. They bloom all summer and climb whatever they can, including railings, fences, lampposts and trellises. Their colors include purples, pinks, blues and whites. Some like Flying Saucers are tricolor.
Tip: The plants are considered annuals that die back in winter, but their seeds, left undisturbed, will pop in spring and germinate into new, vigorous vines.
MEET FOUR O'CLOCKS
Botanical name: Mirabilis
Description: Bea's four o'clocks are magenta and yellow, but the flowers also come in white and a Custard-and-Cream selection with yellow and white in streaked patterns.
Four o'clocks are made for the evening garden, especially the white Alba types, that shimmer in moonlight.
The plant's trumpet-shaped flowers are often lightly citrus scented, adding perfume to the night air.
By day, they attract hummingbirds, moths by night.
You'll find a wide assortment of seeds for these flowering vines and other heirloom species at Select Seeds.
You can also use vines such as morning glories and four o'clocks as groundcovers to cover ugly bare spaces on soil. Just make sure they get sun in those spots, so they bloom like they should.
Local garden centers also stock many morning glories and four o'clocks.