Monday, 10 March 2014

Green is the theme

I think it's about time I made good my promise and wrote about green walls, especially since I now see that M&S have taken this idea on board.

This kind of planting is simply spectacular and I just love it. I think it's one of the greatest gardening achievements since the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. 

M&S are dedicated to incorporating green walls (and roofs) on all new buildings, not just for ecological reasons but on the basis of sound economic sense. 

Both green roofs and walls are instrumental in controlling the climate inside the building and in the greater outdoors  - with reduced internal heating and air conditioning costs, not to mention externally reducing rain runoff and mitigating flooding. 

All this and looking pretty damn good too. Definitely a win win situation.

This is the new Sheffield store. Not just walls but trolley and bike shelters have had the green treatment too.

If you want to read the M&S mission statement on sustainability go to:-

It has a foreword written by the wonderful and wonderfully named Dusty Gedge.

A highly commended strategy. Maybe more stores will follow where M&S lead.

Although not a new idea (the concept dates from 1938) it came to prominence in the late 1980's, in France, being showcased by Patrick Blanc.

For a potted history of the great man himself go to:-

Trained as a botanist, he created a garden at Chaumont sur Loire (the French version of the Chelsea Flower show) in 1994 having first built a trial green wall at the Museum of Science and Industry in Paris in 1988. 

Still experimenting, he went on to refine his ideas and patent his systems.

This is the green wall inside the Hotel Pershing in Paris, built in 2001 and photographed in 2005.

My camera could not capture the sheer size and impact of Blanc's creation

but it still manages to

convey the complexity and scale of 

the planting


impart the magical feel of the space.

His wall still looked good in 2010.

For better imagery and to be totally amazed and impressed look at the hotel's website:

You have to admire the sheer technical skill involved in creating a green wall. The actual mechanics of watering, feeding and maintaining of plants on the vertical is just mind blowing. 

Imagine having to choose the plants for a specific site, designing what will go where and complement its companion and then actually doing the planting.

Not a career for someone who is easily intimidated or suffers from acrophobia. 

When you look at the sheer size of some of his later creations they are just 
logistical nightmares. 

This is the newest 

Aboukir wall Paris

Just look at his planting design

How fantastic. 

And how clever.

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