As I’ve mentioned maybe two or three billion times, I’m space-challenged. My small terrace and a fire escape are my only outdoor space unless I want to put on shoes and go down to the sidewalk. But there’s been a lot of talk about vertical gardening lately, and I think it’s a trend I can get behind … or next to, anyway.
The idea is to use not just your floor space but your wall space -- growing things sideways on a “living wall” or “green wall,” as it's called. Vertical gardens were initially thought to be a great way to green up urban areas, increase oxygen in cramped quarters, and even cool down overheated buildings. But people are taking the trend home, too. It might sound tricky, but it’s actually doable thanks to some innovations that make the whole thing easier.
It’s sort of like having a living painting. Or a hanging plant that doesn’t whack you in the head and leak onto the dining room table.
If you are handy, and like complicated projects, and have no fear, there are complicated and intimidating project tutorials involving wood frames and chicken wire and peat and … eek! Me neither!
The traditional way to send your garden upward is with a trellis and a climbing vine of plants like morning glories, clematis, wisteria, trumpet vines … sigh. For much of the year, though, you might just end up with a very leafy wall (which is also pretty!) that only becomes spectacular in early spring. A trellis is about $15 at my local Home Depot and an already-climbing vine that comes with it runs around $30, but that's going to vary by region.
There are also vertical wall planters. They’re pricey (like, a thousand dollars pricey), but the results are pretty cool-looking and worth mulling over. How hard could it be to make a planter or a set of pockets? Ha ha! Just kidding.
There are also a few options for hanging pockets. Plants On Walls makes “living wall kits” of recycled plastic (it creates an oddly soft “fabric” that holds the dirt and water in place). They are then mounted on metal frames that you attach to a wall. The kits are in the $500-$800 range, but they also have smaller planters you can tuck four to 24 larger plants into that are much more reasonable ($45-$200 at plantsonwalls.com). Your walls stay dry, the company promises -- but I’d still only use one outside. Hmmm, these would look fantastic on my fire escape ...
An even simpler version is the Wally Pocket. Gotta love a product you can call by name, right? Makes you feel like you’re gardening with a pal! Wally, which costs $50-$160 at woollypocket.com, comes with screws and fasteners, and you can choose a bright color for when the flowers aren’t in bloom. It’s supposed to be breathable (so you don’t get root rot) yet waterproof (so you don’t get dry rot). There are even separate indoor and outdoor models. I think I’m in love!
I’m totally inspired to take my gardening upward. This just seems like a chic, easy way to have plants around without losing valuable counter space!
Would you put your garden on the wall?