Vertical Gardening

10 05 2009

sir_mervs - Flickr
Living in London it’s considered quite a luxury to have a garden.  I’m actually one of the lucky ones (despite living on a boat) as i do have a patch of green to call my own.  Friends of mine have to make do with 2 pot plants on the loosely titled ‘roof terrace’ – accessed by climbing out of the hallway window.

It’s because of this lack of private vegetation that i believe Londoners relish trips to the park.  We appreciate a well-tended railway station garden or a pub-front covered in hanging baskets.  And it’s why i love the new Westfield Shopping Mall in Shepherd’s Bush.  Not for anything inside – but for it’s valiant attempt outside at bio-diversity – with a humongous wall of foliage!

Westfield London exterior 2

Westfield Wall

It started me thinking about space and how we traditionally see gardens as flat lawns of grass.  Once i started thinking, i started searching online for more info on vertical gardens.  A few informative videos on vertical gardening later – i came to the following conclusions –

  • Vertical gardens look pretty crap in their early stages
  • This trend seems to have been around a while
  • A French gardener called Patrick Blanc claims to have invented it
Patrick Blanc - Green fingers AND follicles

Patrick Blanc - Green fingers AND follicles

With Patrick Blanc being the top of a Google search and the author of the Vertical Gardening book It got me wondering if the Westfield Wall was one of his and if he had anymore in London – as i can honestly say it’s not something i’ve really seen around the capital [please feel free to comment & prove me wrong!]

It turns out that the Westfield Wall is by landscape architects EDAW, but there are two London sites that Blanc is involved in –

These have literally been in the past couple of months and from what i gather – these are the only two.  Out of the two, The Driver is the first Patrick Blanc Vertical Garden in the UK

Patrick (left) outside the Athenaeum

Patrick (left) outside the Athenaeum

Considering Patrick Blanc installed his first Vertical Garden in Paris 1988 (at the museum of SCience and Industry)  – Why has it taken over 20 years for his vision to reach London?

Blanc's 'Musée du quai Branly' (NOT currently in London)

Blanc's 'Musée du quai Branly' (NOT currently in London)

Interesting Westfield Wall blog entry by landscapeisdeb






12 responses

11 08 2009

I LOVE this concept too! In fact, after seeing Patrick’s work in France my husband and I decided to plant our own at home. Not quite as professional but still beautiful all year round. Great post. Keep it up. Heather (in Islington, off to check out the Driver…)

13 08 2009

Hi Heather –
Thanks for the comment. I haven’t seen The Driver yet but seeing how popular the subject of Vertical Gardening is – i’m going to check it out and do a post on it.

12 08 2009
Danny Rolnick

Well done for creating this thread. Was so impressed at westfield I want to replicate at my home. If Patrick didn’t do Westfield he sure will be suing them cos he says he has worldwide patent etc.

13 08 2009

Hey Danny –
Cheers for the comment. I was totally blown away by Westfield too. I wonder what the patent is actually for? I’m not sure how you can ‘own’ a concept like this – maybe it’s more about the system, ie the way the plants are planted.
I went back to Westfield the other day to take a closer look at the wall and will post pics so people can try and recreate it (but hopefully not get sued in the process!)

Thanks for reading and commenting – new to this blogging lark and the comments defo give me the impetus to continue.

13 08 2009
DIY – Vertical Gardening « Hotspotting by Natalie Barrass, London

[…] of the most popular pages on my blog is about Vertical Gardening.  It talks about the origins of the concept and where various examples can be found – but it […]

5 11 2009

Great greenwall how to video…..

7 11 2009

Fab Julia – Thanks for sharing this

2 01 2010

I am a Chinese, was so inspired by Patrick’s work. I want to do something like that in China

10 01 2010

Hi Ingrid. His work is amazing! Is this style of planting popular in China?

11 02 2010

i really enjoy all your writing type, very interesting,
don’t give up and keep penning simply because it simply just worth to look through it.
looking forward to see alot more of your own article content, enjoy your day :)

12 02 2010
Dick Zieg

Hi Nat,

I am still very excited about this vertical planter concept and seem to dream about it and get new ideas how to construct one each time. Keep up the blog and keep others excited too.

14 02 2010

Hi Dick – I’m not quite at the dreaming about it stage but it does seem to feature a fair bit in my life. I was in Paris the other week and drove past one of the Patrick Blanc’s masterpieces – i just wish i had had time to stop and take pics!
I will endeavor to keep up the blog. Vertical Gardening is one trend that doesn’t seem to be slowing down…
Thanks for commenting – appreciated,

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