Cockburn Gazette - - LIFESTYLE - Sara Fitz­patrick

WE can’t all en­joy a lav­ish back­yard with room for a pony. The so­lu­tion? Go up! Ver­ti­cal gar­dens – also known as liv­ing walls or green walls – are a pop­u­lar trend right now, es­pe­cially with block sizes get­ting smaller.

Ray Barker, from Ver­ti­cal Gar­dens WA, shares his knowl­edge and know-how of the up- ward gar­den con­cept. How and where did this trend orig­i­nate?

The first hang­ing or ver­ti­cal gar­dens were prob­a­bly the Hang­ing Gar­dens of Baby­lon and were first made main­stream by French botanist Pa­trick Blanc, who still de­signs and over­sees big green walls. How did you learn about it and why did you want to get on board?

I first saw this idea in Paris and started re­search­ing it. Al­ways look­ing for the un­usual, I de­cided to in­cor­po­rate it into our land­scap­ing busi­ness but it soon grew to a stage where it be­came our ded­i­cated busi­ness. Why are ver­ti­cal gar­dens a good idea?

They have the an­swer to con­fined space, bring­ing a gar­den in­doors, pu­ri­fy­ing air, cool­ing en­vi­ron­ments and im­prov­ing the liv­ing or grow­ing am­bi­ence. Why are they ‘hip’ right now?

They are grow­ing in pop­u­lar­ity all the time and with block sizes shrink­ing they are the an­swer to that Color­bond fence out­side your win­dow or a bor­ing wall within your pa­tio. What plants work well for ver­ti­cal gar­dens?

Any small plant from ve­g­ies to suc­cu­lents. I like straw­berry plants, let­tuces, herbs, or­na­men­tal plants and grasses. How are they in­stalled?

Most are fas­tened to ma­sonry walls by plugs and screws. Some sys­tems are able to hang along fences, as long as they are light­weight. Are they easy to main­tain?

Yes, as pests and weeds are not usu­ally an is­sue. How­ever, peo­ple tend to be lazy and not look af­ter them. Wa­ter­ing is by drip feed to each plant via a per­pet­ual timer at­tached to a main tap. If this is not pos­si­ble, a re­cy­cling tank can be fit­ted where the wa­ter is pumped at in­ter­vals around the ver­ti­cal gar­den.

The only way is up with ver­ti­cal gar­dens.

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