So this weekend was the weekend to install the first bit of the living wall. The last planting pockets are still on their way to roost. Okay let’s start with the frame.
Tip: if you buy the textile planting pockets (don’t install the frame before they arrive) despite specifications they are between 1-2 cm off in size.
Last weekend I prepared the frame for the living wall, painting the wood with a weatherproof coat.
After this it was time to install the frame. We could not place heavy duty anchors in this wall, so we decided to mix it up: wall screws at strategic places and the we used CT1 to chemically bind* the structure to the wall.
Once we had all the laths up on the wall we placed a waterproof sheet over them, as the pockets are textile and we wanted to protect the wall from direct water. Also the layer of air between the wall and the cover creates insulation.
Then we began to put up the pockets. When I was standing in front of all these pockets with my plants sorted according to height, I had a moment of feeling slightly deflated. These were a lot of pockets and a lot of plants. The pictures show only about half of each.
I am going to write a post at a later time (once we have observed which plants do well where) about layering the plants. Basically which plants go at which level on the wall. At the moment some of these are under observation, strategically planted at different levels. But as a rule of thumb, the alpine plants are higher up (dry, more light) while herbs and violas (fairly resistant and sturdy) can live at medium height. The grasses and peppermint (basically indestructible) are living at the bottom levels. But I will report back with observations throughout the year.
Tip: I realised that once the pockets are wet the textile stretches more. So I am wondering if next time doing it I would soak the pockets in water before setting them up.
Mixing the Soil
So after some discussion with the gardener we decided to mix the soil 2/3 compost 1/3 sand. To make it lighter and prevent water-logging we threw a couple of hands full of gravel and perlite into the mix. It was amazing when I mixed the soil how much lighter this suddenly became after adding the perlite.
Tip from the gardener: cut the perlite bag open and fill it with water, this way the material soaks up water and you can see it changes the volume, it makes it easier to handle, but also adds moisture into the soil.
While the final planting pockets are still on their way. Here are the first glimpses of the upper layers.
*That’s an internal joke. Basically a fancy term for using glue.