Saturday, 16 February 2013

Vertical Gardens.Patrick Blanc. Vision City, Hong Kong. Athenaeum Hotel. EXPO 2005, Japan. Grünes Haus in Gießen

The Grünes Haus in Gießen, Germany 
The traditional way of growing plants up a wall is of course to plant them in the ground and train them upwards, with wire or trellises. Ivy however needs no support, and can be seen on the amazing Grünes Haus above.

Vertical Gardens world-wide  add green to buildings, walls and exhibition centres and are becoming popular in cities. They are also used to cover up unsightly buildings like multi-storey garages and factories or to advertise companies.                                                         
PNC Financial Services Group, Fifth Avenue, NY, covers  six storeys

M & S Sheffield

Vision City wall in Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong, beside the shopping mall, hides a two-storey car-park.  Steel frames support a complicated irrigation system for almost 40,000 plants, including Boston ferns.
Patrick Blanc wall at the Athenaeum Hotel, London Piccadilly, 2009.
One of the plants fell off at the launch
Patrick Blanc design showing metal structure needed for his larger designs 

French botanist and garden designer Patrick Blanc, who colours his hair and fingernails green, has been a great innovator of vertical gardens, which he has been making since the 1980s. He uses a process called hydroponics, whereby plants are grown without soil and supplied with water and nutrients automatically. The plants are placed in metal containers lined with felt and PVC. Sometimes he uses moss. His larger vertical works need huge and complicated structures to support the plants and irrigation systems. He is now working on plants to hang from ceilings.  
EXPO 2005 Bio Lung
EXPO 2005 Bio Lung
EXPO 2005 in Aichi Japan, featured Bio-lung, a vertical wall provided by fifteen companies who put plants in pockets of kenaf hemp, sedum mats or moss.  The wall, in keeping with EXPO's  theme of the natural environment, was built to absorb carbon dioxide, supply oxygen  and to have a cooling effect in the summer environment.

Japan has acted to prevent global warming with the “Three Laws of Landscaping, and Tokyo  has regulations obliging constructors of buildings over specified limits to provide suitable landscaping for the 'urban heat island effect', which makes it hotter than elsewhere.
Jardins de Babylone, Green Gallery, Paris
Vertical gardens are becoming increasingly popular indoors, and equipment is available from UK garden centres.

NB. Wikipedia has a good account of the pitfalls involved in making and maintaining vertical gardens.