Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Vertical gardens

Garden at the Musee de Quai Branly, Paris
Staying a while with the idea of green Jodi is exploring at the Women's Colony - we all love gardens, especially when we encounter them in a city, where they are like an oasis of green amid the concrete.

But space is limited in cities, so you have to be creative. Like this guy.

Patrick Blanc is a French botanist, artist, designer, engineer and gardener. He specializes in the creation of Vertical Gardens, or Le Mur Vegetal - the vegetal wall.

In Paris, at the Musee de Quai Branly, he has planted the walls of the museum's administrative building with a lush assortment of tropical plants, and we saw it this summer when we visited - an amazing surprise when you encounter it from the sidewalk.

Blanc's technique involves a steel framework attached to a wall that holds a PVC plate covered with thick non-degradable felt. Behind the felt are a network of pipes or hoses that allow water to trickle down the wall to a gutter at the base - from which it is pumped back to the top to trickle down again. The felt absorbs the water by capillary action. Plants are set in holes cut into the felt-covered plate, and their roots cling to the soaked felt like mosses cling to rocks on cliffsides.

The plants can be arranged in a layout that can be patterned almost like a tapestry or patterned carpet, clustering colors and textures in swirls or lines or curving swaths.

Blanc has created Vertical Gardens indoors or outdoors, for private clients or for large public institutions. Some of his installations are part of restaurants or retail spaces; others may be temporary. Recently, he installed a wall in Tacoma, Washington State at the Goodwill-Milgard Center.

You can go to his website and see a list of his installations world-wide. You can also see a presentation about his work, and read news stories about his Vertical Gardens.

Maybe there's one near you - or you'll just have to go to Paris.


Jodi Anderson said...

This is amazing. I have never seen it done on such a grand scale before now. It reminds me of the succulent wreaths that I saw on Martha Stewart years ago. It also reminds me of some creative urban chicken coops that I saw online earlier today. The roofs, mostly horizontal but some angular, bedding for a variety of plants, especially succulents.

Thanks for sharing something so lovely.

cactus petunia said...

Incredible! I'd love to know how they water it!

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Very cool. I welcome the embrace of our vegetarian overlords.

Sue (Someone's Mom) said...

That has to be one of the most interesting things I've seen. I'm so glad that you shared it.

Nej said...

Vertical gardens....that's actually quite cool.