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Beginner Gardening: Vines for retaining wall

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Forum: Beginner GardeningReplies: 6, Views: 99
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Conshohocken, PA

May 8, 2012
7:34 PM

Post #9116524


I’ve got a hideous 6-foot retaining wall running along the entire front of my property. This things needs greenery on it, stat!

The area between the house and the retaining wall is very narrow—about three feet. My husband, understandably, would prefer not to have plants taking up any of the limited lawn space, so I don’t want to plant anything to cascade over the wall.

So, vines creeping up is the answer! Problem is, the retaining wall butts up right against the road—so there’s no dirt for me to plant at the bottom and have greenery creep “up.”

I'm stuck.

I know that plant life can exist in between the blocks of the wall—I’m occasionally pulling weeds. Plus, scant, yet tenacious, shoots of ragweed shoot up occasionally between the wall and the road.
I believe there is gravel between each block, and a bit of soil perhaps. Can anything grow in these rocky spaces without out much nutritional soil?

I was hoping to grow Vinca Minor, but I’m unsure if that will work.

Any ideas?

PS I've attached a picture so you can get an idea. The picture cuts off the 'wall meets road' portion, but know that I took the picture while standing on the road--so you get the idea!

Thumbnail by monkeeluv6
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Kiowa, CO
(Zone 5b)

May 10, 2012
9:12 PM

Post #9119345

Doesn't look like you have enough room between the blocks to plant anything. Ya, you may find an ocational weed but to plant it is a different story. Can you add any soil to the base of the wall, 4-6 inches would be great. Then you could plant some perenn vines or annuals, the annuals could fill in faster tho.
Pix: Clematis Prince Charles and Gypsophila paniculata (babies breath).
I can suggest vines if your interested.

Thumbnail by warriorswisdomkathy
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central, NJ
(Zone 6b)

May 11, 2012
7:11 AM

Post #9119629

How much grass/lawn/dirt is at the base of the wall? Your hubby doesn't want to use the grass at the top for vines flow down but how about narrow containers sitting on the wall with trailing vines/plants?
Laingsburg, MI

May 11, 2012
10:52 AM

Post #9119898

How about planting vines in the "width" area of the wall?
Russell, KY
(Zone 6b)

May 12, 2012
6:51 AM

Post #9120814

If there is no soil at the bottom you can't plant anything there, end of story. That close to a road anything would be damaged anyway so that's out. I would reconsider using plants at the top of the wall that spill over and cascade down. It seems your only choice.
Even simple Blue Rug junipers would do it for year round color and you can trim them to take up virtually no room up top. Interspace with some trailing ground cover and you're done. Prune along the top and let the trails trail :)

The only alternative is to mount large window box type planter baskets along the top of the wall in which to plant.
That involves drilling into the wall, so run that past your husband.
He'll probably think planting small plants up top the lesser of two evils.

Conshohocken, PA

May 17, 2012
9:01 AM

Post #9127182

warriorswisdomkathy, unfortunately I can't put soil down at the base of the wall...but your picture is beautiful! I attempted to grow baby's breath from seed this year and failed miserably!

flowAjen, I was thinking about planters/window boxes too! If not sitting on top of the wall, then the sort that can be affixed to the wall. I think that would work nicely!

HopeSue, unfortunately whoever built this dag-nabbit wall filled the top blocks with cement. Walls like this usually are designed so dirt can be deposited into the width of top row of blocks so flowers can be planted--but mine is filled with cement! Argh!

Cearbhaill--I'm gonna work on convincing hubby on windowboxes! :)


Kiowa, CO
(Zone 5b)

May 19, 2012
11:30 AM

Post #9129639

Monkee...these were grown indooors under lights...tho there is an annual that will start from seeding outdoors, is Gypsophila elagans 'Covent Garden', they probably have at walmart , home depot or lowes. And they will reseed too, I will be seeding some in with my german bearded iris this year.

Thumbnail by warriorswisdomkathy
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