Small gardens, high boundary walls, establishing eco-friendly environments and growing your own veggies are all good reasons for creating vertical gardens. Here are three great vertical gardening ideas
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Living walls, where the whole wall is covered with plants, have become very trendy. They are great for softening hard environments and can be planted with purely decorative plants or more practical herbs and vegetables. They consist of a metal framework attached to the wall in which planting pockets or containers are inserted. These are then planted up to create a tapestry of colour and texture. Although very effective, these walls can be quite costly as you need lots of plants to fill a large area and an irrigation system to keep it looking good; it’s a job best done by an expert.
Cheaper alternatives include ready-made, wall-hung fabric planters that come in different sizes with lined pockets to keep the soil moist. These are more versatile and you can add to them as your budget allows and even move them around. They’re suitable for growing a variety of plants from marigolds to strawberries. Various lettuces (except Iceberg) in different colours look wonderful in these planters and you can harvest the leaves as you need them.
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If you just want to disguise a wall or soften it, the easiest way to do this is with creepers like tickey creeper (Ficus pumila), Virginia creeper and Boston Ivy (parthenosis), which stick to the wall with suckers and don’t need support.
Another idea is to create a trellis on the wall with wire and rawl bolts and train climbers like jasmine and ivy up it. A wooden trellis would work just as well. Suitable plants include clematis, climbing roses, petrea and wisteria.
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Wall-mounted containers filled with trailing plants are another way to liven up dull walls and grow vegetableswhere space is tight. In a courtyard, mount these on the hot west or north-facing walls as these are ideal for veggies.
Try tomatoes, gem squash and granadillas, which when hanging down on the wall, are easy to harvest. Parsley, thyme, oregano and bush beans also do well. As the soil in pots is limited, make sure your edibles are well fertilised and watered frequently.
Good trailing flowering plants for pots are verbenas, erigeron, convolvulus, lamium, Surfinia petunias, nemesias, scaevola, pelargoniums and lysimachia.