“Singing” fence on the homestead

By Elena Blokhina

Based on our personal experience and our neighbours’ experience, I can say with certainty which plants are best planted in the fence, and how best to arrange it.

In the front row it is best to plant shrubs such as:

– aronia (black chokeberry, Aronia melanocarpa), red viburnum (guelder rose, Viburnum opulus) and black viburnum (wayfarer, Viburnum lantana), goldencurrant (Ribes aureum), which are very beautiful year-round, and also have berries

– barberry (Berberis vulgaris) in the foreground, especially on the sunny side, which goes through magical colour changes because of the berries and autumn foliage. If one side of the site is completely planted with barberry, then there will always be little kids grazing, eating berries from autumn to spring

– Siberian dogwood (Cornus alba) and red-osier dogwood (Cornus sericea), which are very decorative and attract attention with their beauty

– Various species of rose (rugosa rose, Rosa rugosa; dog rose, Rosa canina; common rose; rosehips, etc.)

– Ninebark (Physocarpus) of different colors, they come with green, yellow and burgundy foliage, and they bloom white, and the seed pods attract small birds;


– mock orange (Philadelphus) and lilac (Syringa) of different varieties

– different types of hawthorn (Crataegus) – Weigela, Tatarian honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica), which blossom very brightly with bright pink flowers

– cypress (Thuja occidentalis) and juniper (Juniperus) distributed evenly over the entire fence will be very beautiful

– serviceberry (Amelanchier ovalis), red and black raspberry (Rubus idaeus)

– sea-buckthorn (Hippophae) which is very beautiful at any time of the year

– false spiraea (Sorbaria sorbifolia), Cotoneaster, privet (Ligustrum)

– buckthorn (Frangula)

– crab apple with reddish leaves and dark-pink blossoms (Malus sylvestris)

– bush willows (Salix) and many others.

Flowering plants and berries attract to the hedge the attention not only of birds, but also of neighbours, especially children, who can sniff flowers and blossoms as they run about, and treat themselves to the ripe fruits, of course with the permission of the owners. The hosts usually do not mind. That’s why they put these plants along the road.

In the second row, you can plant bigger and higher plants such as birch, aspen, mountain ash, linden, ash, chestnut, fir, cedar, spruce, larch, willow, globular and spreading willows, and other tall trees.

In the first row, it’s best to put a distance of half to one meter between bushes. In the second you can do more, like a meter and a half.

Prepared in this way, the fence will turn out dense, beautiful, blooming, and fragrant. The main purpose of the fence is to make a barrier from wind, in order to form a microclimate within the plot that is favourable for growing an orchard and a garden. Besides which, the living fence provides food and shelter to birds, insects and small animals. And also, it prevents prying eyes, which also turned out to be important.

You can of course make a single-colored living fence from just one kind of plant. It’s easier and quicker, but also boring. Instead you can have a fence that is colorful and “singing”, though it will take more creativity and patience.

Personally, I prefer the second option.

Elena Blokhina
Dubrovo FHS

First published in Russian on 30 June 2017

and 20 April 2018