Vertical Gardening

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Transform a Wall into a Living Delight

Do you long for masses of plants, but have only a small balcony or patio to work with? Fear not, garden lover, the answer is at hand with vertical gardening.

The idea of transforming a blank wall into a blaze of living colour has long been popular in Europe, where cramped conditions put outdoor space at a premium. So, if you want to get the most out of your outdoor living space, why not consider a vertical garden?

The types of vertical gardens you can create will be governed by the space available, the types of plants you wish to grow, and your imagination.

If you have a skinny garden bed along the base of a blank wall, careful planting can cover the wall from bottom to top with foliage. A trellis against a wall works especially well with containers placed at the base filled with climbers such as vines or roses.

Without a garden at the base of your wall, you are limited to stackable modules, containers or hanging baskets.  You can use stackable modules that can be placed against a wall, attach a trellis to a wall, or use hanging baskets made from a breathable fabric.

Plants which don’t require much soil, such as succulents, work best in small stackable trays. Trays also tend to have better irrigation than hanging pocket baskets.

The simplest and easiest vertical garden could be just a wire trellis hung on hooks attached to a wall, with plant containers placed on the ground below it. Fill the containers with climbing plants and in no time you’ll have your vertical garden.

If you are handier with tools, you can make your own stackable modules from a durable timber. Make sure you make allowance for drainage and apply a good preservative to the timber before filling with potting soil.

Vertical gardens work just as well for herb and vegetable growing and flower displays. Place your trailing herbs, such as oregano or thyme, towards the top of the wall and use the lower spaces for upright varieties, such as lettuce or tomato.

You don’t need to be an expert handyman or woman to create your own vertical garden. Even if you are more at home with a spade than a hammer or saw, there are modules that you can buy as opposed to making your own. And if everything else fails, you can always have an expert come in and create your vertical garden for you.

Now take another look at that blank wall outside and see how easy it is to change it into a glorious living vertical garden. Let your imagination run wild!

The Living Wall of Rivonia

A more involved type of vertical gardening is a green or living wall. One such garden was installed on the walls of a boutique hotel in Rivonia, Johannesburg, and is considered to be the most innovative and unusual project in the Gauteng province of South Africa. Reaching two storeys high and wrapped around the building on two sides, this spectacular vertical garden is a traffic-stopper.

The Rivonia living wall grows on two layers of polyamide, a synthetic fabric stretched over damp-proofed wall. The fabric is irrigated with water and nutrients through a drip irrigation system, and soil is not used at all.

Plants with good spread, like mondo grass, pelargonium, aloes, agapanthus and tulbaghia are all good choices for a living wall like the Rivonia one.



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