UP AND PLANT THEM
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.