Week 31 – Kenway Nurseries
When creating our living walls we use a huge number of plants. Hundreds, turn into thousands quite easily. One supplier that deserves a mention is Jason Kenway. The plants I get from his nursery, Kenway Nurseries are always excellent. The effort that must go into producing such large quantities of plants whilst maintaining such a high standard is impressive. Their plants now account for around 75% of the stock we use in our living walls and I think they look great. In this section of living wall, you can see another fabulous Persicaria (P. microcephaly ‘Purple Fantasy’) fighting it’s way through a mass of soleirolia soleirolii, along with Acorus gramineus ‘Variegates’ and a handful of Viola odorata ‘Königin Charlotte’ and some wonderful (still yet to flower) Dierama pulcherrimum.
Week 30 – Persicaria campanulata ‘Madame Jigard’
Persicaria are commonly known as knotweeds. Personally, I think the weed part of it’s common name is a bit unfortunate as they are far from being weeds. I love almost all varieties of Persicaria and most are readily available but P. campanula ‘Madame Jigard’ is not an easy plant to find let alone buy. It’s rarely offered for sale, which I suspect is likely to change quite quickly as it’s a fantastic form of this genus. Native to the Himalayas, it’s a semi-evergreen perennial with a distinctive reddish-bronze, centre vein in the leaves. It’s stems remind me of gnarly fingers, with multiple knuckles and joints along it’s length. Once it gets a foothold, it seems to grow fairly quickly, putting out leaves at a fairly decent pace. Apparently it flowers all summer, but this is my first season working with this beauty, so I have yet to witness how long it actually flowers for here in sunny Devon. So far it’s performed brilliantly, loving the moist surroundings of our living walls or in this case one of my new living spheres. This particular Persicaria has just shot straight to the top of my go-to plants list.
Week 29 – The professionals
Working with professionals that really know what they’re doing is always a pleasure. John Davies is an excellent garden designer and The Garden Builders have executed his designs perfectly. We’ve created a number of living walls for John over the last few years and think that this is probably one of our best. Thanks to the excellent planning and an easy working relationship with both John and The Garden Builders this job was delivered on time and without issue. We are delighted with how the wall looks and know for a fact that the client is too! Please follow this link to see lots more images of this fabulous garden.
Week 28 – Around we go…
Ideas are all around us. Personally I find they dance around inside my head and drift across my subconscious mind like clouds. Often, like a dream, they fade when I wake, but sometimes they stick and solidify in my minds eye. Then I can feel the idea growing.
For years I’ve been pondering how to create a living surface that’s not 2D and flat but 3D, with depth and possibly movement. Time and again it was a ball, globe or sphere like shape I seemed to gravitate towards. Now, I know how to create living walls, but a living sphere, that’s a bit harder. Then one day a few months ago, I literally work up from a dream and bingo… my subconscious mind had worked it out for me.
So, over the last few months I’ve been working in my new nursery developing my idea, and this is the result. My living sphere. This is no short term hanging basket for the summer months, this is botanical ball of perennial plants that, just like my living walls will develop and grow over years and last for decades if maintained correctly.
Like my hydroponic living walls they will be automatically watered (and so fed) keeping maintenance to a minimum and like my living walls they will hopefully delight, entertain and facinate all those that enjoy the beauty of the botanical world. I’m delighted with the result and I hope some of you out there will like them as much as I do.
The spheres will come in several sizes, S, M, L, XL (and possibly an XXL for those with commercial size spaces). Please email us to register your interest in ordering one of our original living spheres.
Week 27 – Grand Designs
It’s always nice to see our work in print, so thank you Andrea Manley for including some of our projects in your article on green roofs and living walls in this months issue of Grand Designs magazine. The article features an image from the very first wall I created in Hackney, London back in 2009 . The living wall was part of what turned out to be a pretty amazing roof garden that featured a glass bottomed pool, polished concrete fire pit and of course, the ultimate accessory, a fully stocked bar!
Week 26 – Feeling hot, hot, hot, hot…
It’s hotting up, down in Devon… and things are starting to get a little crowded at the nursery in South Milton. We’ve got multiple living walls developing nicely, all ready and waiting to be shipped to various locations across London. Whenever possible we like to plant the walls well in advance of the installation date, allowing us to keep a close eye on the plants as they develop and grow, sending out roots and settling in to their new vertical home.
Week 25 – London tour part 2
On our tour of London last week I was delighted to see how well our living walls are doing, so much so, I wanted to share another image. This time it’s a wall we installed this time last summer in Belsize Park.
Week 24 – A tour of London
This week I’m back in London to check on a number of living walls we’ve installed over the last few years. A couple needed a little attention, others however required nothing more than for me to stand and appreciate what a fantastic job everyone who is involved with producing our living walls has done. When our combined hard work comes together and the plants start doing there thing… well it’s simply a pleasure to behold. This wall in Swiss Cottage was installed just a few months ago, and I am absolutely delighted. It’s one of our best yet. Congratulations team TLA for a job well done.
Week 23 – Looking good in Knightsbridge
The well heeled folk who reside in the exclusive Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (London) are always well turned out and looking their best. The cars on the streets are shiny, supercharged and often driven by chauffeurs. The facades of houses are tall, white and often hide a multitude of fabulous treasures behind them. Last week Will returned to check on this living wall, created for one such home owner a few years back and took these images so I could assess (from my sleepy seaside retreat) how the wall is doing. I say it’s doing just great, looking good, dressed in it’s horticultural finery. The Erysimum ‘Bowles’s Mauve’ is almost always the first down the catwalk with the Campanula poscharskyana ‘Stella’ not far behind. However, I’m more than happy to wait a little longer for my favourite, the Begonia grands subs. evansiana to stride out for the finale (and usually close the show). With it’s nodding clusters of slightly fragrant pale pink or white flowers I’ve loved this beauty from the first time I cast my eye upon it. Bravo!
Week 22 – Plant hunting
An essential part of what makes any garden or living wall interesting is the plant selection. Finding and testing out new plants is an exciting, fascinating and important job. I love discovering a new nursery and nothing can quite beat the tingle of excitement brought about by the anticipation of stumbling upon a new plant. I’m relatively fresh to the world of plant hunting, so I’m constantly ‘stumbling’ across lots of plants that I am unfamiliar with… or to be more honest, have simply never heard of before. Shame on me. However, plants are not something to be scared of or worried about using. They are to be picked up, paid for and whisked home to gaze upon for several minutes, hours or indeed days, before inserting into a new planting scheme. The pleasure of watching a new plant working it’s magic amongst other beauties is simply one of the great joys of my life. I am always happy when I’m planting. That’s why I constantly have mud under my finger nails.