such great heights

One of the big garden trends now is vertical gardening. It’s generally touted as ideal for maximizing the vertical growing capacity of a city – apartment dwellers with living walls, office buildings blanketed in lettuce greens, and so on. So, predictably, there was a lot of vertical gardening at the Northwest Flower & Garden show last weekend. To our delight, many of them were growing strawberry plants. The demonstration gardens were inspirational, jump starting conversations about how we can integrate vertical gardening into our own home. Of course, you can’t just use the same techniques from a demonstration garden that lasts for 5 days for your wall or fence – which will, hopefully, last much longer, but it’s a good starting place. We have a quarter acre of land – an almost luxurious amount of space – but we have big dreams for the stuff we’re going to grow. We’re trying to think vertical as we’re creating the garden to avoid problems later when it’s harder to change and fit things in. So, here is a rundown of some of the things we’re thinking about.

This classy vertical garden made from thick gray felt was in “The City Comes Alive,” the demo garden by Solterra Systems. This was the first vertical growing we saw when we walked in, but it stuck with me all day. It reminds me of Woolly Pockets. I am strangely fascinated with Woolly Pockets, and that fascinated transferred easily to this beautiful felt pocket wall.

This living fence in the WSNLA demo garden is growing strawberries! Krista liked this so ladder design so much. I think she was ready to take this home with us. I would not have stopped her, but I think the gardens have their own security.

The Seattle Urban Farm Co. built this “Crops for Clunkers” garden, and in lieu of bumpers and side panels, the truck was sprouting strawberries. This was one of the highlights of the show for me. I have too many feelings about it; I need to write about it separately.


This was in the container garden display section of the show. It makes me want to remodel our bathroom. In addition to that great wall, I was in love with the mossy bath mat, which reminded me of another moss bathmat I wish I owned. The powers that be need to hurry up and produce moss bath mats for mass consumption!

Most of these walls were simply potted plants stacked into a frame, which worked well enough for the garden show. It is not what I would want for my backyard as a long-term vertical garden solution, but it’s food for thought. I would love a strawberry fence or wall, but I would love it more if it lasted for years and had some irrigation built in.

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5 Comments

Filed under home, urban farming, winter

5 responses to “such great heights

  1. did you hear about this?
    http://www.cmu.edu/homepage/environment/2009/spring/jessicas-strawberries.shtml

    I didn’t see it in person this summer but if she does it again I definitely plan to check it out.

    • jess s

      I have not seen that art project, but it’s cute! I wonder how her garden grew. Gardening has been so totally coopted by commercialization, it’s virtually impossible to tell what You Need and what companies Need for You To Buy, you know what I mean? It’s nice to see someone gardening with garbage. When people are say to me, “oh i can’t garden, i don’t have space, i don’t have money, i don’t know how.” i’m just thinking, “this is not desperate housewives gardening. people who thought the world was flat could do this. you definitely can do this!” with all the information on the internet, at libraries, and at your county extension office, you could have an extensive gardening education without spending a dime.

      have you seen this guy’s work? I was (very sadly) introduced to his work because he died in the earthquake in Haiti and he was a friend-of-a-friend. Since then, I have become so enamored and inspired by his work. He created food gardens from garbage, too. They are beautiful, like sculpture. He has a flickr page and some other stuff online too, if you are interested. That’s the work he was doing in Haiti when he died, apparently — helping really poor people create beautiful gardens out of garbage to make their own food.

      • oh wow. he’s amazing. thanks for the heads up.

        I am kind of obsessed with making beautiful things out of garbage lately, especially after staying in the earthship in taos and then seeing Michael Reynolds speak at PASA.
        Rebby and I are contemplating an earthship for our future chickens! :)

  2. great review of green wall products – thanks

  3. Pingback: 2011 Northwest Flower & Garden Show | krista and jess

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