Going vertical


The hanging gardens of Babylon definitely set a trend for vertical plantations even if, thanks to Assyriologist Stephanie Dalley, we know now that they were actually built in Nineveh 300 years before king Nebuchadnezzar!

Verticalizing plantations is a totally brilliant way to maximize a mini space – balcony, terrace, garden, backyard – though this was of no concern to the king’s architect.

To give a unique look to your multi-story garden, let your imagination run wild and recycle whatever you want. You can, for example, repurpose an old wooden stepladder, not steady enough for your significant other to climb on, but perfectly willing to morph into a delightful little green oasis. Open the stepladder and put wooden boards on the steps to make shelves. Et voilà! Keep it as it is for a rustic look, paint it in green to blend in with the leaves, or a bright colour to make it stand out.

An old chest of drawers, discarded shelves, a neglected bench, forlorn pallets, unemployed crates, retired gutters, hollow cinder blocks, are excellent candidates for recycling too.

If you are short of flower pots and boxes, almost any old container can be upcycled. Give wooden crates, drawers, teapots, watering cans, tureens, wellies, lace-up boots, a second chance. All will take on this assignment with pride and efficiency, as long as they have drainage holes. If this not the case, drill two or three through the bottom of these planters.

Grow flowers – cascading pansies, ivy geraniums, pelargoniums, petunias and climbing plants such as ivy, jasmine, passiflora, honeysuckle, clematis, etc., that will wrap around the ladder –, outdoor green plants, herbs – rosemary, basil, oregano, chive, parsley, chervil, coriander, mint, chamomile, borage lemon grass, etc. – vegetables and fruit, separate or together. Lettuce will thrive in boxes, ditto for arugula, radishes, spring onions, peppers, spinach, zucchini, bok choy, runner beans, peas, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and strawberries, providing they have good soil and potting compost.

Growing your vegetables and other plants vertically is a brilliant strategy to save space, avoid weeding, water them more efficiently, avoid most diseases and discourage pests such as gluttonous gastropods or ravenous rabbits.

By recycling all these veterans and giving them a second life, you have an awesome miniature garden, hyper trendy, totally organic and carbon neutral. Congratulations!
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