Living Wall

Living Walls are one of the most exciting recent trends in garden design.  Made famous by French botanist Patric Blanc, the concept goes back to the 1930s, when it was invented by Stanley Hart White, a professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Illinois.  The basic idea is to grow plants vertically on panels or structures. They can be arranged along walls or even freestanding. It has become particularly relevant lately in sustainable urban gardening, where space is limited.

Living Walls enhance any space, indoors or outdoors. We are talking about a fabulous medium for experimenting with three-dimensionality, depth, and structure. Living Walls have a calming, invigorating visual effect. On a larger scale, these vertical oases improve air quality and can even be put to work in grey-water recycling and filtering. Amazing!

My wonderful friend Reyna (an author and bona fide foodie with an incredible sense of aesthetics) saw a living wall on one of her travels and fell in love with the idea. She envisioned a living wall for her lovely, protected back yard. You should see that yard! It’s like a little piece of Rome, right here in Boston.

Allora! Since she was looking to embellish a relatively shaded, north-facing wall for a fall event, we chose a seasonal color theme with plants adapted to our climate and the specific light situation. Dark purple heuchera are contrasted with light green ferns and grasses. Tiny varieties of hostas and succulents pick up on these hues and form a backdrop that makes the fronds and leaves pop. It’s a play on colors, textures, and layers. The planting system used here can be connected to an irrigation system that makes watering a breeze.

Going three-dimensional gives us so many exciting options, and I hope to explore the concept further. I just love everything about this idea!

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