A bee-friendly living wall
That’s my vision. The problem we have is that said wall is West-facing in Scotland. Not the best of growing conditions; particularly if you had hopes for an evergreen wall. The following table shows my research results to far. There are surprisingly many vegetables and herbs I could grow.
But this was not yet quite as bee-friendly as I would like.
Bees Bug and Beetles
We have this lovely gardening centre not too far away and one of the experts there was so helpful and knowledgeable this extended the list of possible plants enormously—I am in the process to putting these into the above table. The best chance for growth and attracting bees seems to lie with alpine plants.
The other advice I obtained was not only to put pebbles in the bottom of each of the planting pockets as planned, but also to mix sand into the actual soil. The lower the pockets are on the wall, the higher the sand ratio needs to be. ‘The water is always making it’s way downwards.’ was the reasoning behind it.
But also certain types of ranuculus (Brazen Hussy—I am so loving the name!), herbs (thyme, sage, oregano, mint), and violets that would attract bees and provide lovely foliage.
The wall system
Having to keep an eye on budget I found a system online that offers inexpensive textile pockets. I bought 7,5 square meters, in variation of 1x1m, 0,5x1m and 0,5×0,5m sizes. The actual pockets are either 13,5 or 15 square cm. So they should have the right size for most potted herbs and smaller plants.
I am trying to source bilberries the low growing, ground covering wild Scottish blueberries (or maybe not blueberries?). They happily grow in low light conditions and are certainly fit for the climate and the bees like them, too.
So there is one issue though, some plants if you put them into smaller pots, or in the case of the living wall pockets, will simply remain smaller than they could grow had they more space. Other plants however will suffocate and die. So it is important to consider this for planning the living wall.
I will report back on these details as I go on with the project.
What others say
and my costing
The £400 per square-meter is a vast overstatement though unless you buy a top of the line system which along costs between £100-£200 per square meter. I am working with just under 8 square meter and will probably stay within the £500 mark. If I would have grown all plants from seeds this would probably be a bit cheaper as well. I am making use of the ability to split certain plants, or take cuts from them.
This was today’s calculation. After all the sewing, splitting, and planting during my holiday I had to take a headcount (177 so far). 300 plants needed! (277 but for smaller such as the violets and the spinach I might put 2-3 in each pocket).
I am waiting for the system to arrive now, ordered it on Amazon and the delivery can take up to three weeks. Agh! Well, it gives me time to put up the frame and waterproof membrane on the wall, and source the last 100-120 plants. There might be some foraging on the horizon! Will post about the implementation-phase as soon as the system arrives.