You are an awesome horticulture enthusiast with green thumb, you love to create a lush green paradise, but your yard is not big enough, or you live in an urban belt where space is at a premium. Fret not. Take to vertical gardening.
What is Vertical Gardening?
Vertical gardening makes use of all existing ‘bottom-up’ and ‘top-down’ surfaces to grow plants. A garden may no more be a traditional in-ground growing system. When you think out of the box, any vertical or horizontal surface can become your vertical garden.
Hanging planters can be transformed into living art pieces – be it indoors or outdoors, a large area or a small plot of land, your frontage, side walls, window sills, trellis, pergola, arbor or arch. A vertical garden has different names: green façade, living wall or green wall.
Who Invented Vertical Garden?
Stanley Hart White, who taught Landscape Architecture at the University of Illinois, invented the ‘green wall’ in 1938; he called it ‘Botanical Bricks’. However, it is Patrick Blanc of France who is called the ‘Godfather’ of the ‘Vegetal Wall’. The striking 650-foot-long green wall he created at the Musee du quai Branly at Paris in 2005 sparked off a revolution in sustainable architecture. He has some of the stunning and longest living green walls to his credit, many of them planted as early as 1970.
- Choose plants carefully. Go bio-diverse; make it edibles, succulents, flowers, ornamental grasses or a mix of all to make it captivating and vibrant.
- Plan placement – the area you wish to set the vertical garden and its suitability in terms of plants you choose, sunlight/shade, and water availability. Take into account the actual area you have on hand. Check if it is water-safe to tolerate occasional drips or moisture.
- Go in for recycled PET/ synthetic felt containers that are non-reactive and non-toxic.
- Consult with a landscaping expert on plants that would go dormant in winters.
Best Plants for a Green Wall
Herbs: Basil, thyme, oregano, parsley, mint, ginger
Vegetables: Tomato, peppers, chilli, carrot, celery, lettuce, kale
Foliage and grasses: Feather reed grass, autumn moor grass, lady fern
Annuals and flowers: African daisy, pansy, geranium, marigold, daffodils, tulip
Perks you get
- You craft a ‘visual green paradise’ that camouflages unsightly structures/elements
- Gives you additional growing space
- Creates a micro climate; improves air quality – good health is the added bonus
- Shields naturally your home from heat, noise and pollution
- Softens the hard and stiff building, turns it poetic
- Controls pests better than your experience with in-ground plants
- You invoke nature in the present era of climate change and deforestation
- Care and maintenance
A trouble-free drip irrigation system set on top or an automated one will do. You may also consider water-efficient recirculation systems that come with a tank, pump and timers.
Moderate fertilizing is recommended for vertical gardens. Use of organic fertilizer is best to avoid salt buildup. You can add fertilizer either manually or using an injector in your irrigation system. In case of recirculation systems, just add fertilizer when you top off the water tanks.
It is best for you to engage professional landscape specialists who can help you with long-term, easy and pocket-friendly maintenance.