Go back 11 years and French botanist Patrick Blanc premiered his unique take on planting with the world’s first vertical garden. Pershing Hall hotel became a tourist attraction in its own right, thanks to the vibrancy of Patrick’s design (see below).
Fast forward to the present day and the aptly named living wall continues to thrive. Popular with city dwellers, the wall has now set its roots into the home interior market. If it takes your fancy, check out the glossy pages of Home & Garden to see it in all its glory (dig out November 2012’s issue)!
So what exactly is the appeal of bringing your garden inside?
Well first off, an indoor setting saves on that precious outdoor space. It’s perfect for the flat owner who dreams of a lush view and also the home owner with that smaller lawn. All you really need is a wall and you’re away!
Next up is the free air con! According to Tiga Europe, plants’ surfaces don’t rise more than 4 – 5 degrees above the normal temperature and they can actually make the room cooler. If you ask me, the walls would make a welcome addition to high-rise buildings or maybe even those top tier bedrooms. Why not go the full hog and build your own exterior walled garden? The extra insulation will save those pennies by reducing the amount of heat escaping through your walls.
Guess what, the good news doesn’t stop there!
I’m with Lively Elements who point out that the planting cleans your inside air by removing VOCs and harmful toxins like benzene and formaldehyde. So not only does the greenery spruce up your living room, it actually has health benefits too!
I’m sold, what plants should I use?
Typically speaking, there is no magic formula for indoor planting so feel free to be as creative as you like. Go for a mix of climbers, shrubs, grasses and ferns and indulge in herbs, fruit and veg for extra oomph! The cheapest tactic is to purchase some grow-your-own bags from your local garden centre. The trick is to grow the plants before the mounting stage and replace the soil with material such as corrugated plastic to keep them in place. Securing two layers of felt to the wall before making a slit in the top layer is a fast and simple way to ensure your masterpiece holds up. Just slide your Potentilla Primrose Beauty fern (see below) between the two layers and finish off with a staple or two. You can start off small, building your creation one panel at a time, until voila! After a few grow-your-own birthday prezzies, your wall will come to life!
A word of warning
Budding gardeners will probably be well aware that TLC is vital for happy plants. Structural support, a waterproof barrier and good lighting will be your best friends and allow them to sit and grow to their hearts’ content. Along with some good old-fashioned fertiliser and regular watering (two to three times a day). If your green wall is near to a window, then hooray, make use of the natural light! If not, some LED lights will do the job.
Now I have to admit, although I’m a huge fan of this ecowall…
… the thought of making my own fills me with fear. If you’re the same and you would rather someone did the hard work for you, then a company such as Mobilane could be the answer. Their LivePanel system comes with a computerised irrigation system, complete with all the minerals that your flourishing shrubs could ever need. Not only that, the system’s reassessed once a month to prevent any wilting art! Check out Mobilane’s official website for more details or google for similar companies.
Without a (green) wall to speak of as yet, the only thing standing in your way is you. Will you be brave enough to redefine ‘interior’?
If you’d like some professional help creating a vertical garden, post your job in our Gardener/Garden Designer category. Up to three tradesmen can contact you to quote and you’ll be able to view their profile pages, complete with customer ratings, to help you decide who to hire.