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 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 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.
Week 18 – Acer Palmatum “Beni Tsukasa”
I know spring brings lots of beautiful blossom to our streets and gardens but for me there are plenty of trees that don’t really bloom and are just as good. The colours of this Acer Palmatum “Beni Tsukasa” are almost autumnal but yet the tree still carries that same springtime sense of new life and optimism for the summer ahead. The blue sky helps a bit too.
Week 17 – An olive tree. Well nearly.
Outside of gardens, living walls, trees and plants, one of my favourite things is enjoying a well earned martini. Perhaps there is some similarity. After all there are endless varieties of martini to enjoy, all with their own unique colours, aromas and flavours. They’re all different and they’re all great. Some of them even come with an olive which brings me back to thinking about gardens…
Week 15 – A fledgling blog post
With business booming and hundreds of meters of living wall to create Adam has fallen behind on his weekly blog posts. A long way behind. I have agreed to step in and lend a hand. For my first post I thought I should write about my own living wall which we created almost exactly a year ago. The living wall is located in our side return and is in full view from our large kitchen windows. This spring it has proven to be a massive distraction for my children with meals and homework endlessly interrupted. The reason? Well we have had robins nesting in the corner of the living wall and so every time they swoop in or out we all look up and watch the robins. They don’t like to leave the nest for more than a few seconds at a time so the distractions are pretty much constant! If you look closely you’ll see the mother tucked away amongst the Asarum caudatum. Beautiful.
Week 14 – Fairy wings or horny goat weed?
I love Epimediums. Also known as barrenwort, bishop’s hat, fairy wings, horny goat weed or yin yang huo in Chinese. The majority of species come from China with a huge range of forms and species, many of which make a great choice for my living walls as they prefer a moist environment. Handy. They can be evergreen or deciduous and there are so many to choose from it makes my eyes water. I’ll be testing various varieties in my living walls throughout 2018 and will, I’m sure, slowly edit my selection down to a half dozen… yeah right, as if… make that two dozen. They’re just too fabulous.
Epimedium x perralchicum ‘Frohnleitun’, forms beautiful spreading evergreen ground cover and has the most wonderfully delicate yellow flowers. Perfect for creating wonderful flashes of brightness amongst the mottled greens and reds of it’s equally fabulous foliage. Like I said, I love epimediums.