I love plants in my home – they add such colour and life – and I hear they do something nice for the air too! Ahhh… deep breath 🙂 I’m sort of running out of places to put and hang them however, so after re-vamping our front door entry which isn’t roomy enough for a hanging plant, I decided a “living wall” would be the perfect solution.
Big and small, inside and out, these vertical gardening systems are all over Pinterest and interior magazines at the moment. Mostly, they are fairly simple – a pocket based system that you put soil in, add plants and water manually. Although if you want to be spendy, there are all sort of fancy watering systems to be found!
Here’s the idea: Nice huh?
More info at Wooly Pockets or Vertical Gardens NZ
Since mine is going to go outside, I didn’t search around for anything that was watertight, I found some simple pockets on Trademe made out of recycled felt – 2 planters with 4 pockets for $15.
How to: Step By Step
All the information online seems to revolve around pretty pictures of finished pockets with cascading plants – and lot’s of mention of the words “simple” and “easy”. I also found the “spill, fill and thrill concept”. Basically choose plants from each category and do the following:
Use the “Spill” plants, which drape down, to cover the edges of the Pockets. Next add the “Thrill” plants as focal points and to create a dynamic visual composition. Finally, use the “Fill” plants to fill in and cover the Pockets between the other plants. Use big, full plants! The wall should look as full and lush as possible immediately upon planting, with as little Pocket showing as possible.
Yay I love simple and easy! Ummm not so much. Firstly, I couldn’t see any of the plants on the lists at the garden centre. Or at least not in my low budget. Secondly, the pockets are SMALL. How to fit these various plant categories into one pocket exactly?
So, I thought of my own system. I bought some dangly, some eatable, some smelling nice and some little cheap and pretty. I also got some secret weapon – certain to cure my houseplant killing tendencies – Crystal Rain. This is magic dust that mixes with water to make goop, which you add to the dirt and keeps them from dying if you forget to water them.
2. Putting it together
I mixed up my magic goop and added a few spoonfuls to each pocket of soil and stirred well! FYI – you are supposed to do this an hour before!
I added potting soil and put 3-4 small plants in each pocket. I tried to put cascading type things on the edges and things I thought would be bushier in the middle – due to the pocket shape there is more soil here also! I used a mix of baby house plants and herbs (thyme and parsley) as well as transplanting some wandering jew from my garden (When I say garden, it grew after I tossed it out the window and is now ideal for cuttings)
Oh and making sure there is as little pocket showing as possible? Still not sure how that is supposed to happen!
According to the internet, one is supposed to water the “tongue” which after some searching I discovered is the BACK of the pocket. This way the water will wonderfully wick it’s way down the tongue and perfectly disperse water to the plants without drowning them. Clever! In real life? It is actually impossible to water the back of the planter. Especially with a hose. I hope my plants like extra moisture. And I now understand what that fancy expensive watering thingy with the long spout is for. TONGUE WATERING. Of course!
So here is my finished product! I am hoping when it grows it will fill out a bit… and I’ll just replace anything that doesn’t survive 🙂 Not QUITE what I had imagined, but it has some potential! I think I will wait and see how things take before I hang it outside our front door or plant the other one… I will post an update on how it grows!
Final thoughts? This is a cheap and YES, EASY way to add some greenery to a wall inside or out! It doesn’t need to be complicated, just pick up a few things that don’t cost too much and have a go 🙂 Personally, I like combining a few edibles in there – thyme is handy and smells delicious and parsley is always nice to have!