I’m sometimes asked about the viability of these beautiful features, particularly as they are becoming more widely used in city centres to ’green up’ our urban spaces. The benefits are many, but how easy are they in a customers’ garden? The only way to find out was to build my own!
After much research I attended a seminar at Scotscape and bought their system, and the essential automatic irrigation was fitted by Waterwell. The plants themselves were sourced from local nurseries and the ferns came from ‘www.shadyplants.net’, an online nursery in Cork, Ireland.
A sturdy frame was attached to two posts, and the 2 x 1.5m living wall system of 140 separate plant pockets was then attached to the frame.
Before planting the irrigation was set up: without this the plants would soon dry out and die.
It was great fun to design the planting scheme, using plants suitable for an East facing, shady, protected site next to the patio doors. This will be on show all year round, so it is important that the wall looks good even in winter. My plant selection included evergreen ferns and grasses, colourful Heucheras, glossy Pachysandra, Vinca minor, purple Ajuga, and variegated Lamium.
Planting the pockets was quite fiddly and took longer than expected, and I had to use a ladder for the highest part. I used ordinary multipurpose container compost, ensuring that the pockets were fully filled so each plant had as much compost as possible. Even so, that only means 1 litre per pocket: not much growing space for plants that could grow over 50cm tall!
I am really pleased with the final result, and look forward to watching the progress of my Living Wall over the winter as the plants fill out and cover the fabric.