Four and a half years ago Hanging Gardens was a wee acorn of an idea with its roots just beginning to grow. It all started by trying to solve the problem of a very small garden that was running out of gardening space.
In 2012 there were just a handful of vertical gardens in NZ and a very limited number of products for the home gardener. The products that were available at that time were either horrendously expensive or badly designed from the plants perspective.
Hanging Gardens wanted to change that and make vertical gardens affordable for the average gardener. So we analysed what plants needed to thrive in vertical spaces. The first place to start was with the roots. If a plants roots are happy, then the chances that the plant will be happy are very good.
Most roots have quite simple needs, adequate soil depth, adequate moisture, good aeration and a limited temperature range. On the whole, New Zealand plants don’t demand a lot of attention and many of them are quite happy growing in pockets of soil on cliffs or volcanic rocks.
So it was inevitable that our design focused around giving the plants a pocket of soil. This is the basis of our ‘botanical felt pockets’. Once the plant is in the pocket, it is happy. Then the challenge was how to get the plants and pockets up into the vertical space. This was solved with the outer Hanging Garden ‘bag’.
In August 2012, we did our very first talk to garden societies on why vertical gardens are beneficial and we installed our very first garden in the mall in Howick (see picture above).
Since then we have given innumerable talks to a wide range of audiences, participated in a multitude of trade shows, tested a wide range of plants, improved our products and designed new products to support our plant pockets.
We have also seen a whole raft of new products come onto the market, many of them a few weeks after photos were taken of our products. Few of these products have lasted the test of time, while many of our original trial plants are still being whipped out of their supporting gardens, taken to shows for a few days and then taken home again. The reason we can do this, is because their roots are not damaged.
So while Hanging Gardens has grown from that little acorn and we now spend a lot of time focusing on commercial projects, we have not forgotten our roots. At the end of the day it is back out into the garden to enjoy a little fresh air and check how the plants are doing!
Right now, most of the plants are still sleeping, but rest assured, their roots are doing their thing and getting ready for the spring.
So the next time you are out and about, have a look at the vertical spaces around you. Perhaps you have an ugly wall or a bare fence that could do with improvement?
Well why not use it and paint your walls with flowers and greenery, whip the plants out and swap them about to see what creative ideas you can come up with.
Just remember to keep an eye on the roots and when you have your evening drink give the plants one too, the roots will thank you!