Vertical gardens have arrived
WE’VE been hearing lots about living, green roofs. Isn’t it time for living walls?
Well, vertical gardens have arrived: walls filled top to bottom with growing plant material.
As well as providing a very cool look, such walls provide way more texture and colour than simple vines growing on a lattice, because you can use many different plants.
There are at least three types of living walls. One is made of stainlesssteel mesh, two sides filled with growing media in between. It’s not very deep, maybe two or three inches. The growing medium could be a soil mix, well-draining soil with sand or gravel or vermiculite mixed in. It could be smaller particles of lava rock; it could also be extruded clay.
Another system is based on modular units featuring cells that are angled to hold in the soil material. The units fit together to create whatever size of wall is required.
The third system is based on a geo- textile fabric. Several layers of this felt-like synthetic fabric (to measure about one-inch thickness) are placed in a frame and the plant’s roots grow through the fabric, which supports them.
You cut a small slit in the first layer, get rid of all the soil from the plant roots, stick the plant into the little pocket, and eventually those roots will start.
Out of doors, living walls are generally placed in a trough that’s lined and put in the ground. There are different watering systems such as automatic irrigation, some with computerized fertilizing systems.
However, drought-tolerant succulent perennials including sedum and stonecrop have been used successfully in green walls for many seasons and can survive without irrigation. On the Prairies, green walls should not be placed on a south-facing wall unless you are using succulents (drought-tolerant plants) as it becomes too hot for them and the growing medium can dry up too quickly.
Living walls can also be used to grow annual herbs, smaller vege- tables or strawberries.
The best thing about living walls is that they don’t take a lot of space. As homes get bigger and yards get smaller, these walls can be used as edible privacy screens.
One Ontario-based company, ELT Easy Green, makes a living-wall kit with prices starting at around $40 per single unit (one square foot) or about $60 for two. Check out their website at eltlivingwalls.com for more information and ideas. G-Sky Green Walls and Roofs, a Vancouver-based company, is another maker of living-wall systems. Their website, greenrooftops.com, shows several different applications.
— Canwest News Service
One of the new trends in trellises emphasizes horizontal lines and doesn’t
feature climbing plants.