A phenomenon that we absolutely adore in the office, and one that is becoming more and more commonplace, is that of vertical gardens.  Not to be confused with creeper and ivy covered deserted cottage walls, these works of art are carefully constructed, with meticulously designed patterns and purposely placed colours, becoming ever growing, ever changing pieces of art.  Gorgeous – almost like eco-friendly street art.  And the beauty of it is that these gardens are becoming more and more accessible to those of us that have limited space and less than green fingers.
The “modern innovator” behind the original fame of the garden is botanist Patrick Blanc.  While he may not have invented the concept, he most certainly revolutionised it, bring vast green walls to our attention world wide.

Pont Max Juvenal, Aix en Provence

“On a load-bearing wall or structure is placed a metal frame that supports a PVC plate 10 millimetres (0.39 in) thick, on which are stapled two layers of polyamide felt each 3 millimetres (0.12 in) thick. These layers mimic cliff-growing mosses and 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 flows down the wall by gravity. The roots of the plants take up 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.”
For more information on this incredible green artist, pop over to the lovely article and interview by Visi Magazine here.
Others have picked up on the idea, such as Fernando Ortiz Monasterio.  His work in Mexico City is truly breathtaking and has been referred to as a symbol of progress in a notoriously polluted area.  He states that “The main priority for vertical gardens is to transform the city.  It’s a way to intervene in the environment.”

Beautiful, no?

Nedbank Menlyn Main
Closer to home, Kevin and brother Ricky Frankental opened the doors to their company, Grow Collective in 2009.  
Based in Johannesburg, this duo specialise in indoor and outdoor vertical gardens seen in residential, corporate and hospitality environments that will take your breath away.

Even more exciting, is discovering that various, more watered down versions are easily DIY-ed.  House and Leisure have some definite starting points to consider before embarking on your green adventure:

  • Try your first project outdoors, as plants will need additional lighting when grown indoors.
  • Plan your garden and then explore in local thrift shops. Recycling an existing suitable container will make your garden more unique, and give an added charm to your project.
  • Be patient and allow the plants to take root properly in the new soil before hanging it.
  • Match plants to the location of the garden and the variables associated with its location such as sun, shade and protection from frost.
Good news is that it doesn’t seem too difficult to create, which is wonderful if you, like me, cannot normally keep a cactus alive.  Have a look at this tutorial for help.  The possibilities are endless – they can be as colourful and creative as you like.  Another example of a similar concept is that of moss graffiti – these images have run riot across the interwebs, but the idea remains fantastic, and simpler than a full blown garden:

So fun

So go forth, lovely readers, and make your worlds a little more green.  It’s good for you, you know!

For more inspiration and organic prettiness, see this Vertical Gardens Pinterest board.

Image source – Restaurant Padrinos in Mexico City – Right Hand Side – Good Food in Mexico City

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