Ver­ti­cal gar­dens add to the beauty of our ur­ban ar­eas. And the equip­ment and knowl­edge of how to make them is avail­able be they multi-storey ver­ti­cal gar­dens or smaller do­mes­tic green walls. Liz Light talks to the ex­perts.

Go Gardening - - Front Page -

Ver­ti­cal gar­dens, also called hang­ing gar­dens and green walls, have been around for a long time. The Hang­ing Gar­dens of Baby­lon, in 600 BC, are a fa­mous early ver­sion and ivy and other creep­ers have been grac­ing walls and houses for cen­turies.

What is chang­ing is the recog­ni­tion of the need for green­ery and gar­dens in ur­ban ar­eas. Peo­ple want plants in their lives and want gar­dens to en­joy re­gard­less of their liv­ing and work­ing sit­u­a­tions.

Ur­ban­i­sa­tion, apart­ment liv­ing and in­fill hous­ing have led to a phys­i­cal lack of space for tra­di­tional gar­dens so home gar­den­ers, busi­nesses, and coun­cils are turn­ing to ver­ti­cal gar­dens. This is a global trend and in places, such as Sin­ga­pore and Paris, coun­cils are leg­is­lat­ing green walls and green spa­ces into de­vel­op­ment plans.

Ver­ti­cal gar­dens are ap­pear­ing in all sorts of places in New Zealand. The big­gest so far, but there are more on de­vel­op­ers’ draw­ing boards, is the Atrium on Taku­tai in Auck­land’s Brit­o­mart Place.

Two huge walls, each 60-squareme­tres face each other across a cen­tral atrium. The ini­tial re­ac­tion, when one walks into the Atrium, is the ab­so­lute wow fac­tor of this eco art but, be­sides that, the plants im­prove the air qual­ity, add to in­su­la­tion and en­hance acous­tics in what would oth­er­wise be a noisy glass-clad area. It has been there for five years, and still looks fab­u­lous, prov­ing the tech­nol­ogy be­hind it, and main­te­nance of it, works well.

Nat­u­ral Habi­tats de­signed and cre­ated the Atrium. Sam Dixon, green tech­nol­ogy spe­cial­ist, ex­plains that the com­pany uses a me­dia that sim­u­lates soil (clays and syn­thetic and or­ganic ma­te­rial) and this is held in a metal mesh cage about the width of a mat­tress with per­me­able geo­tex­tile cloth hold­ing the me­dia in place. The cage is rect­an­gu­lar (1 X 2 me­tres), and any num­ber of them can be placed to­gether mak­ing a wall gar­den as big as the cus­tomer wants.

Peo­ple want plants in their lives and want gar­dens to en­joy re­gard­less of their liv­ing and work­ing sit­u­a­tions.

The gar­den is fed by an au­to­matic hy­dro­ponic-style ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tem. Sam says that, just like all gar­dens, ver­ti­cal gar­dens need main­tain­ing and Nat­u­ral Habi­tats tends the Atrium walls fort­nightly, re­mov­ing dead leaves, re­plac­ing plants that aren’t do­ing well and look­ing for the usual cul­prits of mealy bugs, fun­gus, scale and aphids.

Leigh Ni­chol­son, owner of Hang­ing Gar­dens, uses a com­pletely dif­fer­ent sys­tem but one that works equally well, par­tic­u­larly on smaller green walls. Leigh lives in How­ick, Auck­land, and her gar­den was too small so, in 2012, she de­cided to ex­tend it up­wards with a green wall. She couldn’t find any­thing suit­able in shops at the time, so she worked on the con­cept of hang­ing pock­ets. What she de­vised, through trial and er­ror, has be­come a suc­cess­ful hang­ing gar­den sys­tem. “The outer ma­te­rial is like shade cloth but it’s per­me­able and it breathes. This comes in two shapes with three pock­ets hang­ing ver­ti­cally or three pock­ets hang­ing hor­i­zon­tally. These are sus­pended by a strong stain­less steel rod and can be at­tached to the wall by hooks, screws or nails. The gar­dens can be as big or as small as needed when in­di­vid­ual units are hung next to each other.”

“Hang­ing Gar­dens uses a felt in­ner, 30 cen­time­tres wide and 22 cen­time­tres deep. The plants grow in these in­ners which are placed in the pock­ets. They can be re­moved and put in dif­fer­ent pocket. “Think of che­quered gar­den art,” ex­plains Leigh. “Plants, such as bulbs and other an­nu­als, can be re­moved when they are fin­ished and stowed in a cor­ner un­til they are ready the fol­low­ing year.”

“They make ter­rific veg­etable gar­dens, too. Plants such as peas, beans and straw­ber­ries are born to hang.”

Hang­ing Gar­dens can be scaledup to cover big walls and Nat­u­ral Habi­tats’ sys­tem can be scaled-down for do­mes­tic gar­dens but it’s fair to say that, be­cause of the tech­nol­ogy and price fac­tor, Nat­u­ral Habi­tats is the choice for big­ger com­mer­cial, cor­po­rate, Coun­cil and apart­ment projects. The sim­plic­ity and pri­ce­point of Hang­ing Gar­dens and sim­i­lar prod­ucts avail­able in gar­den cen­tres makes it more suited to do­mes­tic projects.

Ver­ti­cal gar­dens in ur­ban ar­eas add vis­ual, psy­cho­log­i­cal and eco­log­i­cal value. Plants make peo­ple happy and green life mat­ters. Thank­fully, cre­at­ing green walls is eas­ier than ever and this trend is here to stay.

Left: Bromeli­ads and ferns grow­ing in a hang­ing pocket sys­tem. Be­low left: The liv­ing wall at Novo­tel, Auck­land Air­port. Be­low right: The Atrium in Auck­land’s Brit­o­mart Place.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.