Gardening, the vertical way

Gardening, the vertical way

GO TALL Don’t fret if you are a plant lover, who lives in a box. Vertical gardening is the perfect way to go green, assures Rashmi Attavar

In today’s fast-urbanising world, open landspace is fast shrinking, courtesy the rampant increase in high-rises in the city. In such a time, having your own private garden would be a dream come true. And today, you do not need a big yard or a garden to make this dream a reality.

Vertical gardening is the new concept catching up in urban life and is quickly becoming popular among garden lovers in the city. The fact is that vertical
gardening can be adopted in any kind of space, be it a terrace, a kitchen, a balcony, the living room and even the backyard.

We now have varied options to green up our own garden without having to give much thought to the space requirements. The vertical garden or green wall
concept, which was pioneered by Patrick Blanc in 1988, has now adapted into
simpler forms for the home garden.

Though this kind of gardening needs a certain degree of time and care, it’s one of the best ways to make your house look unique and green.

Here are some simple techniques you can incorporate in vertical gardening:

Old containers as wall hangings
This is the most eco-friendly way of gardening and you do not have to go anywhere for it. Look for used cookie jars or tins or buy some colourful containers from the market.

Hang these containers on your wall – ideally have eight to nine so that they are well dispersed and placed in an organised fashion.

Add your desired vertical garden plants so that it looks attractive. Do not ignore the areas left – put in some large plants or pots so that the garden space is
specified.

A picture-perfect wall
A vertical garden plan can be done in wall spaces; it can be in a garden area or even any corner of your house. If you have small wall spaces empty in the garden area or even in the house, you can add a smaller vertical garden plant there. You can use any material to create holders or pots and add flowers that you like.

Group planting for the wall
One can create a cluster of plants and vegetables which can be hung from the walls. It can be a separate setting
altogether, which will add a vibrant look to the garden and also can create a
perfect ambience for social outdoor
gatherings.

Used bottles as planters
Here is a great way to make use of the soda, juice or other bottles, which can’t be recycled. Instead of throwing them away, simply tie them all together with a thread (from the mouth) so that your wall area can be covered. Now, dig in holes from the centre so that you can place desired plants and your pretty wall hanging is ready!

A perfect painting
How about having a vertical garden planter, which looks more like a lovely plant painting? Use any old frame lying in your storeroom by simply taking out the back support so that you can frame your wall planter easily. This can spruce up your living area with a lovely aroma. Plants, which have aroma and mild fragrances, can be used for this setting.

Kitchen garden
If you have an old cupboard or oven in the kitchen, you can make use of it for vertical gardening. This is a creative way to plant beautiful plants and flowers in order to get your kitchen area looking ravishing.

Floral stand
A hand-made wooden stand filled with decorative plants and cheery flowers is a perfect decorative item for any occasion. For this, you can use an old piece of wood as a stand.

Character on your wall
Imagine having a perfect season
portrayed on your wall. By placing a
couple of pots in a lovely manner, you can add colour to your walls with a wonderful vertical garden.

However, before you take on vertical gardening, do keep in mind a few things:
l One needs to check on water proofing. Typically, they are modular blocks made out of inert material for drainage and soilless media like peat, perlite and vermiculite. The medium should be able to hold water for long periods. The modules can be of any size.

If using bottles or pots, make sure there is drainage. 

Interlocking system of planters, which can be placed on a wall are easy to install and easy on the wallet. These create a brilliant wall of plants in about three to six months from planting.

For many gardeners, annuals are a go-to solution for many garden needs. Annual flowers are a quick way to fill empty spots in flowerbeds, and early-blooming spring annuals make great additions to container gardens. A mix of annual plants can offer a colourful solution for vertical gardening. They also do well in the modular planters and add a lot of colour. They are easily available online and in local garden stores.

If you have ample sunlight in the space you would like to use, planting a combination of herbs and annuals is the best choice . You may also grow vegetables like cherry tomatoes, spinach and the like.

If the wall is just for aesthetics, then you may use a combination of plants like ophiopogon (ribbon grass), chlorophytum (spider plant), jacquemontia, syngonium, rhoeo, coleus and begonias. The combination of textures will make an interesting wall.

Use plants that respond well to
trimming and have shallow roots.

For shade-loving wall plants, ferns and orchids can be mixed to give a stunning wall. Even when the orchids don’t bloom, the ferns are lush and have a delicate texture, which makes them look attractive.

Vertical gardens help lower energy consumption by keeping the home cool during summers and also act as natural insulators during winters.

Watering cycles vary with plant choices. House plants may need watering twice a week, whereas outdoor planters may require daily watering. This is an ideal option for conserving water as well.

Trim the plants regularly and do not make it heavy for the containers.

(The author is JMD, Indo American Hybrid Seeds (India) Pvt Ltd)

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