Garden Photo of the Day

A chainlink fence transformed

Click to enlarge
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais

I spotted this sight while strolling the suburbs of Chicago a couple of weeks ago. I love how the gardener has camouflaged the chainlink fence with cosmos, sunflowers, and what looks to be a euphorbia (anyone know what that plant is, specifically?). It’s simple, inexpensive, low-maintenance, and charming, and gives them the freedom to do something completely different next year.

Click to enlarge
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais
Click to enlarge
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais
Click to enlarge
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais
Click to enlarge
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais
Click to enlarge
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais


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  1. JulieBW 09/20/2011

    I think it is Euphorbia Marginata Summer Icicle. It is an annual at least here up north. I saw a stand of this a few years ago - stunning! I tried starting some from seed, but germination is slow and erratic.

  2. Kris_at_Blithewold 09/20/2011

    I recognize the Euphorbia as E. marginata "snow on the mountain" too but it's the straight species that reseeds for us. I'm unfamiliar with this adorable short one. I'm putting Summer Icicle on my must have list right now. And I LOVE this fence! (The plants more than the chainlink.)

  3. mms54 09/20/2011

    I concur with Kris and Julie that this is the euphorbia "Snow on the Mountain," which here in the Kansas Flinthills, blooms as a native cultivar in the road ditches and pastures mid-to-late summer. Have not grown in my garden, but have used cuttings from the wild in arrangements...does best if one burns the sappy stem to seal it immediately upon cutting.

  4. wwross 09/20/2011

    Very Nice. Another way to fix up a old chain link fence, is to paint it. Take some good old Rustoleum (comes water-based now and in many colors--black, dark green are really good). Then slop it on with a roller on the chain-link part and with a brush on the poles/rails. Since its an outside paint job, you can do it very fast.

  5. SherylAZ 09/20/2011

    Isn't that pretty? Really nice area, love the mass cosmos.

  6. amanda4973 09/20/2011

    I like the idea of painting a chain-link fence a dark color. You could look right through it ... it would be much less noticeable.

  7. shirleyjean 09/20/2011

    Euphorbia is a cactus that doesn't look like a cactus. It grows upright and tall. The common name is Crown of Thorns. My granny grew them in the back of the bed in front of the house, next to her Mother-in-Laws tongue. The emerald colored three inch leaves are narrow on the stem end and wide and rounded on the other. The small flowers stand up above the leaves on a slender stem and are shaped like a fertilized human ovem that has begun to divide into four parts, with yellow stamens in the center. They are usually bright red but can be yellow, white, or salmon/cream bicolor. I have tried to grow this plant at least four times, all unsuccessfully except the last time. I grew the last one in cactus soil in a tall (2 1/2 foot) narrow urn shaped clay pot. It started at less than an inch tall and now three years later, it stands 2 1/2 foot above the pot and has branched into three main stems with off-shoots. It grows on my shaded porch that gets lots of bright reflected light. I bring it in during the winter and allow it to go almost dormant. It is healthy and happy. Any one who sees it, admires it and wants to know what it is. They do not believe it is a cactus until I show them the very prominent thorns on the trunk. You don't notice them because the leaves are so large and lush. I've never been stuck by this plant. Not even when planting, or watering, etc. It reminds me of my granny and I love it.
    I don't see our Euphorbia on your fence. Your's must be a different type than ours. I should have looked more closely before spouting off. I do know that our plant is officially Euphorbia.

  8. petuniababi 09/26/2011


  9. altavitae 09/27/2011

    Wonderful display of annuals. I am particularly interested in the small-headed sunflowers used here.
    Does anyone know what variety of sunflowers this is?

    I've been asked to plan for sunflowers next year and would like to include long blooming ones like this one.
    Thanks any suggestions.

  10. andyglean 02/13/2013

    Stunning, indeed... What a way to beautify a chainlink fence!

  11. ted_smith 05/16/2013

    Wow...Your chain link fence looks damn beautiful!
    I recently installed similar sort of fence like this
    Chain link fence in above picture is totally incomplete without those beautiful flowers coming out of the small loops..

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