1.11.2009

Vertical Gardens

I know, I know- it's freezing cold outside. Snow and ice are ruining any chance of having a pleasant day. And here I sit in sunny California where it is currently 67 degrees and expecting a high of 82 for today. But guess what? I have the flu! I too am stuck inside. I have never been more sick, more often than I have been living here in So Cal. I would take a cold winter day in Ohio just to feel pain free and healthy.
So here I sit dreaming of the first day of spring and beautiful lush Hawaii. In just a few weeks it will be time to start planting our seedlings for Spring gardening and I want to be organized this year. I want to do something different. I want to find new ways to plant unusual plants. I'm thinking vertical this year! Rather than pretty pathways I want lush green walls.

Perhaps you have heard of Patrick Blanc and his vertical gardens or green walls. Watch this video and you can find out how he does it. It's quite amazing.

"On a load-bearing wall or structure is placed a metal frame that supports a PVC plate 10 mm thick, on which are stapled two layers of polyamide felt 3 mm thick each. These layers of felt somehow mimic mosses that grow on cliffs and are used to support the roots of many plants.

A network of pipes controlled by valves provides a nutrient solution containing dissolved minerals needed for plant growth.

The felt is soaked by capillary action with this nutrient solution, which descends along the wall by gravity.

The roots of plants harvest the nutrients they need, and excess water is collected at the bottom of the wall by a gutter before being re-injected into the network of pipes: the system works in a closed circuit.

Plants are chosen for their ability to grow on this type of environment and depending on available light."




A more practical way for us to get started on this concept is to purchase (or make) a vertical garden such as this one from Smith and Hawkins.

Or check out some of these interesting and inspiring books on the subject. Including The Vertical Garden by Patrick Blanc.

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