Green Walls – going up!
As we all ponder strategies to develop more engaging, sustainable, respectful and beautiful communities, vertical gardening comes to the forefront as a fascinating option. Planting vegetation on the actual walls of a building is a practice that has proven to moderate heating and cooling bills, while offering an unexpected venue for additional gardening opportunities.
A recent visit to Paris generated several beautiful examples of green walls. Musee Quai Branley, just a short walk from the Eiffel Tower on the Seine River, has an outstanding example of green walls on a large scale. Designed by architect Jean Nouvel in 2006, the Branley’s green walls include an amazing diversity of both perennial plants and shrubs, including hydrangeas, iris, coral bells, ivies, and sedges. An underlying grid system provides support for the plants as well as irrigation and drainage. Although the north face of the wall that faces the river suffers some plant die-back each winter, the wall still looked amazingly green, healthy and vibrant during my mid-December visit.
A green wall installation at Artisan Fleuriste, a small florist shop in the beautiful Marais district of Paris, provided inspiration on a smaller scale. A modular system similar to that at the Branley was used to create a lush green archway over a service doorway. A diverse blend of groundcovers and sedges planted in the arch still created a lush and beautiful green focal point during my chilly winter Paris stroll.