I have been so inspired by Vertical Gardens, or “Le Mur Vegetal” lately. They have been cropping up all over the place. Seeing the temporary exhibit by Succulent Gardens at Filoli Gardens reminded me of my admiration for these gardens and their benefits.
A living wall, also called vertical wall, is a vertical arrangement of plants and other organisms that naturally removes toxins and unhealthy contaminants from the air that we breathe. Living walls can be complete ecosystems or simpler configurations of plants that thrive in and help to decontaminate urban environments.
France’s Patrick Blanc is considered the inventor of vertical garden systems. One of his most beloved projects is the Musee du Quai Branly, seen above. Isn’t it fantastic? Not only does the vegetation improve the appearance of the wall, it also improves air quality and energy consumption. A living wall would contribute to LEED certification of a building. Photo credit: unknown.
This Patrick Blanc Beauty is the Marche des Halles vertical garden in Avignon. You can really see how the vegetation is arranged to create patterns and shapes to great effect. The wall garden becomes artistry and adds aesthetically to the overall appearance of the building. Photo credit: unknown.
My favorite Patrick Blanc project is the CaixaForum Museum in Madrid. Isn’t is wonderful? First the architecture of this Herzog & de Meuron designed building is AMAZING! Housed in an 1899 power station, the architects used the brick shell from the power station. The living wall provides a vocabulary with the nearby Botanical Garden and Paseo del Prado landscaping. The wall is created with approximately 15,000 plants of 250 species. The juxtaposition of color and texture with the historic power station creates a special and memorable space. Photo credit: unknown.
Smaller scale examples of living walls can be found locally as well. In this Siol Studios designed space from the 2010 SF Decorator Showcase , a small vertical wall hangs on an outdoor terrace. Photo credit: Paul Dyer
Local garden designer Flora Grubb is now offering a DIY wall kit to start your own vertical garden. Photo from Flora Grubb website http://www.floragrubb.com/shop/verticalGardens.php
My photo of the temporary succulent wall garden at Filoli Gardens by Succulent Gardens in Castroville is also worth repeating. For more information, visit http://www.sgplants.com/
I believe these living walls are exquisite for urban terraces to more traditional patios alike. What do you think? Do you find these vertical walls as inspiring as I do?