Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Gardening

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Gardening

Article excerpt

A LIVING wall is becoming increasingly popular with green-fingered experts. And it's a look you can recreate in your own garden.

Instead of growing climbers up a wall, you can create a framework which will take low-growing plants to adorn a wall and make the most of what little urban space you have.

This allows you to use a variety of plants which will take both dry and wet soils.

Designer Mark Gregory, brainchild behind the gold medal-winning Children's Society urban garden at the Chelsea Flower Show this year, set out to make the most of the small plot by using vertical features.

He says living walls could catch on in residential gardens.

The plants are set into what looks like a bookcase, but with vertical as well as horizontal dividers. He used western red cedar as it's from a sustainable source, the wood is very sappy and won't rot, but you could use plastic, metal or clay. You could even mount plants in CD/DVD racks or wine bottle racks.

The key is getting the planting right.

You want dry-loving plants at the top and water-loving species at the bottom. You can put the in-betweeners in the middle.

"This is not a Chelsea fad," says Mark. "Go with a simple palette of plants which will grow vertically without much fuss. You could have aspleniums (Hart's Tongue fern) at the bottom, which grow in walls or any hedgerow, euonymus above it, which is a horizontal plant but if planted in a living wall will turn up. Heucheras and euphorbia will grow and sedums are good at the top."

Of course, success depends on a depth of compost, so give your frame enough depth to hold a good quantity of organic matter.

Also, you need to put small plants in initially.

Professionals generally mix up a very free-draining material and build in some sort of irrigation, such as a drip line, into the compost and then plant tiny plugs, securing them behind a galvanised mesh, starting from the bottom, and keep stapling the mesh on in layers. …

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