The new trend in green walls is fascinating and probably will be with us for a long time. But if you’re not quite ambitious enough to take that on yet, more traditional planted retaining walls can be a nice way to get a good dose of vertical gardening. And they make a lot of sense with the sloping lots many of us have here in the Ouachita and Ozark Mountains.
I loved the long green wall at Powell Gardens on Tuesday, but was really impressed with the wall at Botanica in Wichita shown here. If you look closely, you’ll see that each of this plants is growing in a black mesh container with soilless mix behind a layer of sphagnum moss. A pretty standard setup for a hanging basket, but these are like a nursery flat turned on their edge and stuck into gaps left in the stone that are the perfect size into which they can fit. There were a wide variety of plants down the 50 feet or so of planted area on this wall, but with drip irrigation, seems it would be a great way to create a pretty easily built and maintained wall.
The important issue is chosing the right plants, You’ll need those that are well adapted to fairly dry conditions, but this can actually be an asset with some of the herbs like lavender that don’t like the humid, hot climate of the South. Just imagine this wall, covered in hanging batches of lavender and Lebanese oregano in full bloom. It would be really spectacular in half to all day sun. For the latter, you’d probably need to look at succulents like Echevaria (hen and chicks) or Aeonium that are really drought tolerant. But with a good drip irrigation system, this could be fairly easy to manage.
Look around, do you have a place for a showy display like this?