In­door plant dis­plays: wall pock­ets, built-ins and more

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - LIVING - By Solvej Schou

Imag­ine step­ping into a bath­tub, and in­stead of bath­room tiles lin­ing the wall next to you, there’s a fresh ver­ti­cal gar­den, lush with bright green ferns, laven­der, baby’s tears, mint and other fra­grant plants.

San Fran­cisco-based de­sign stu­dio Siol cre­ated just that a few years ago for one home.

Un­usual ways to dis­play in­door plants run the gamut, from builtin shelves and con­tain­ers in and along walls, coun­ter­tops or ta­bles, to wall pock­ets and ter­rar­i­ums.

“Dec­o­rat­ing with plants is still one of the eas­i­est ways to make a home feel lived in and re­laxed,” said James Au­gus­tus Baggett, ed­i­tor of Coun­try Gar­dens mag­a­zine. “There are so many dif­fer­ent ways that peo­ple can in­cor­po­rate plants into a home’s de­sign.”

For that liv­ing green bath­room wall, grow lights and a self-cir­cu­lat­ing drip wa­ter sys­tem were built into the 10-by-10-foot wall to pro­mote in­door growth, said Siol co-owner and prin­ci­pal Jes­sica Wei­gley, 38. Laven­der plants added a spa-like dash of aro­matic beauty.

“We were jok­ing that you could pick the laven­der and put it into the bath with you,” Wei­gley said. “Bring­ing na­ture in­doors is huge. It still re­quires care and at­ten­tion, like any other gar­den. It’s just on your wall.”

Of course, a full green wall is also in­cred­i­bly pricy — it can cost cus­tomers at least $10,000, at about $100 to $200 per square foot, Wei­gley said, be­cause of its em­bed­ded light­ing and wa­ter­ing sys­tem.

A much cheaper in­door-gar­den al­ter­na­tive is pock­ets made of var­i­ous ma­te­ri­als — in­clud­ing ce­ramic, glass, plas­tic, wood, metal and even macrame — that can hang di­rectly on a wall and be filled with plants, said Baggett. They can run about $20 to $100 each.

Easy-to-care-for in­door plants in­clude snake plants — also known as san­se­vierias — with long, pointy green leaves that reach up­ward; dark green, cast iron plants; wall-crawl­ing ivy; dan­gling spi­der plants; suc­cu­lents, and foxtail ferns. Snake plants and cast iron plants, es­pe­cially, re­quire lit­tle light and wa­ter­ing. Bon­sai trees, bay lau­rel trees and small fig trees can also be dis­played in­doors in both planters and par­ti­tioned floor ar­eas padded with soil and rocks.

Those liv­ing in smaller homes can get cre­ative: “Ver­ti­cal gar­den­ing is the hottest trend for not a lot of space,” said Baggett. “There’s the float­ing shelf — a shelf that’s just stick­ing out of the wall — and the half wall, a waisthigh wall, with plants on top of it. Re­cessed wall niches are also pop­u­lar.”

Minia­ture gar­dens, from ter­rar­i­ums — land­scapes in glass con­tain­ers — to fairy gar­dens, have caught on for both space-con­scious adults and fun-lov­ing kids, he said.

What are fairy gar­dens? They’re small, whim­si­cal scener­ies dec­o­rated with itsy-bitsy fig­urines, houses, moss, milk­weed

pods, pine cones and tiny plants.

Kokedama, a Ja­panese plant art that means “moss ball” in English, in­volves form­ing a moss-cov­ered ball of soil around the roots of a plant and wrap­ping it with twine. Sus­pend­ing these moss balls as hang­ing plants is also a trend, Baggett added.

Those with a retro aes­thetic can dis­play suc­cu­lents and cacti in vin­tage tins and dec­o­ra­tive pot­tery. Molded fiber­glass bul­let planters, pop­u­lar in the 1950s, have also been mak­ing a come­back. The size of an ice bucket, the planter is held aloft on a three­p­ronged stand.

“Plant stands are handy. You’re rais­ing those plants to eye level,” said Baggett. “That pulls your eye around that room. It’s the same way in an out­door gar­den that peo­ple use color to pull the eye around the gar­den.” www.siol­stu­dios.com Solvej Schou is on Twit­ter at https://twit­ter.com/solve­jschou

PAUL DYER PHOTOGRAPHY — SIOL STU­DIOS VIA AP

This photo taken in May 2013 shows a liv­ing gar­den bath­room wall at a pri­vate res­i­dence in San Fran­cisco The wall gar­den was de­signed by San Fran­cisco-based in­te­gral de­sign stu­dio Siol Stu­dios.

SOLVEJ SCHOU VIA AP

This photo taken on de­picts a snake plant - also known as a san­se­vieria - in a bul­let planter in a Pasadena, Cal­i­for­nia res­i­dence.

PETER KRUMHARDT — MERED­ITH VIA AP

This un­dated photo pro­vided by Mered­ith shows herbs, from left, flat-leaf pars­ley, basil, Greek oregano and rose­mary, grow­ing in planters on a metal shelf mounted to the bot­tom of the win­dow frame in a home.

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