I’m not the worst gardener in the world, but I reckon some of those beautiful vertical gardens wooing me on television screens and magazine pages, could be money down the drain. Some are gorgeous works of art when they are first installed, but I wonder how they look one year later.
Our House By The Water has a few spots that will need the green treatment. My main focus for now is the view from the scullery:
Here’s the situation:
- The width between the house and the brick fence is 1.6 metres at the narrowest point.
- Shared utility space for garage access, washing line and bin storage.
- Strong chance of being a wind tunnel.
- Exposure to sun: only a few hours per day.
Tough conditions. Forgetting the plant selection for a moment, here are my options:
- Plant climbers into the ground. Help them with some simple wires.
- Espalier trees. Reticulate.
- Pot plants and use shelves or some kind of structure to layer them up the wall.
- Use a simple pocket system for vertical gardens, with or without an irrigation kit.
- Use a complex vertical garden structure with built in watering system including a pump.
I’m going to save options one and two for the front yard, to hide the rear walls of the neighbours’ garages. The front yard faces North and there will be room to condition the soil, so espaliered fruit and climbing plants should do well there.
Options four and five scare me. In our challenging conditions, I’m worried we’d end up with an expensive, dead mess.
For my scullery view, I’m favouring the plants in pots option. We’ll render and paint the brick fence almost black. We’ll add some structure to give the plants height so we can see them. I’ll recruit a large, hardy pot of rosemary or something equally tough to act as a wind break, or if necessary construct a screen. Worst case scenario, move struggling plants to a happier location.
Could you pull off a vertical garden? Do you have some suggestions for covering a shady wall? Have you seen any great green walls that stood the test of time? (Ivy doesn’t count!)
For more vertical garden ideas of all descriptions, take a look in my Pinterest file.