The Book I read clearly gives the instruction that we should love our neighbor as we love ourselves yet every day we are answering questions about plants suitable for hiding them! I guess that loving and hiding are not necessarily the same, allowing us to hide what we love, if you get my drift. This is not always that easy as properties become smaller with less garden space available. One needs to determine the height you want to reach and whether this will be achieved by planting trees, palms or shrubs. Many shrubs will grow to a height of 3m or more but when we start looking at 5m and 6m we need to think carefully. Should space allow, one can plant suitable trees at the back and attractive shrubs a few meters in front in order to allow the trees to develop with a good spread and the shrubs to grow naturally. Should the space be narrow and it is necessary to keep the barrier planting clipped, you are better planting shrubs with smaller leaves which will manage to look good even with continual clipping.
The first tree that I would recommend is the beautiful, Indigenous, Halleria lucida or Tree Fuschia, which will grow to a height of about 6m with a 5 m spread. This can be free standing or planted closer together and clipped into a formal hedge and the beauty of this magnificent tree is that it will attract multitudes of nectar feeding birds, followed by seed eating birds; the flowers protruding from the branches and stems, giving birds the privacy they need to feed without disturbance and the clipping into shape will not deter the production of flowers. There should be a law in the land that every garden has to have at least one of these trees.
No matter how much you need privacy, please think carefully before you plant Strelitzia nicolai, more commonly known as Wild Banana. Extremely difficult to control, the plant multiplies by producing suckers from the base and given time, you might just regret the day you ever planted it.
If you are allowed Exotic plants, you will not be disappointed with Hibiscus rosa-sinensis Deep Pink Butterfly. What a winner!!!! Happy in pretty extreme coastal conditions, you will be blessed with the most beautiful deep rose pink Hibiscus blooms for most of the year. May be planted as a small tree or clipped into a hedge, although continual clipping might interfere with the production of flowers.
In my next article, I will discuss shrubs that will do well as hedges. Until then, give your spirit a lift by paying a visit to a Nursery, if only to enjoy the beauty of Nature which can be found in abundance.
Driefontein Garden Center, Salt Rock – 032 525 7748