Vertical gardens – think laterally to garden vertically
It might take a stretch of the mind to imagine a vertical garden – most of our gardens are laid out almost definitely in the horizontal. We don’t always have to do it that way, however; vertical gardens are gaining in popularity and there are innovative ideas for simple and practical designs available from a variety of sources.
A vertical garden is just that – a garden on the vertical plane. Sometimes it’s mesh across a wall, allowing plants to grow through it; other times it might be a stand holding small pots of herbs and flowers, bringing the herb garden to the kitchen door. Be it a grand statement or small display, your vertical garden will enliven an area that might previously have been left bare.
Vertical gardens have many uses such as covering unsightly walls, planting in small spaces, and bringing the garden closer to your living space. While the beauty of some vertical gardens mean they serve as an architectural feature or an art piece (such as Patrick Blanc’s living walls), you can design them to meet your family’s needs at the same time.
For example, if you live in an apartment without garden access, you can use available vertical space to enjoy the benefits of a garden and be productive. Plant a vertical garden on your balcony with herbs and dwarf varieties of vegetables such as cherry tomatoes, beans, baby cucumbers, chili and spinach. You might reuse an old pallet, chest of drawers, or even soft drink bottles to hold the plants, minimising your spending, or decide to spend extra and build or buy a special frame or pot stand to hold your vertical garden.
Whichever size your vertical garden, remember to consider the aspect that it will be facing. If you have a west-facing wall, for example, you’ll need to find hardy, heat-loving plants that will withstand a hot summer afternoon. Or if your fence faces south, find shade-loving plants that will thrive in a cold, damp winter.
You might even consider an indoor vertical garden using a self-watering system where all you have to do is fill up the water tank and trim dead leaves. This offers a no mess solution and the benefit of an inspirational garden that takes up very little room. Indoor vertical gardens are also great for office partitions, providing a little bit of nature inside what traditionally is an unnatural environment. If your workplace doesn’t have a vertical garden, perhaps remind your boss that spending time in the company of plants is proven to boost your mood level. That can’t be bad for business!
By creating a vertical garden, we can help create an oxygen-filled atmosphere wherever we wish, and inspire the people around us to enjoy the beauty of nature.