If you're planning on a vertical garden, then go to the inventor to find out how. There's now an update of Patrick Blanc's classic book on vertical gardening, The Vertical Garden: From Nature to the City (Revised and Updated) (W.W. Norton & Company, 2012).
Blanc, a French artist and botanist, has transformed cityscapes all over the world by installing gardens on walls of museums, shopping centers, hotels, skyscrapers, and ordinary homes. The inspiration for his tropical walls, he says, came from aquariums he first saw in a doctor's office as a young child, from the waterfalls in the Bois de Boulogne, and from the tropical plants he saw at the 1964 International Flower Show in Paris. Visits to tropical forests increased his interest in epiphytes and how they grow, and he began experimenting at home, growing plants on vertical boards.
In his book, Blanc first explains how plants grow under waterfalls, along riverbanks, clinging to rokcs and cliffs, on rocky outcrops, in caves, dark glens, and in the forest understory.
He then takes you on a tour of his first vertical gardens, explaining that his main objective is to "forget the seasons and create continuity between indoors and out, especially in winter."
Soon, Blanc was installing his vertical gardens everywhere, as on this residence in Brussels. The book explains the structure that supports the plants and the system Blanc uses to feed, water, and maintain them.
And finally, there are detailed descriptions and beautiful photos of many of his vertical masterpieces, from the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art in Paris to private homes in France and Italy, to many projects in the United States, including the Juvia Restaurant in Miami; the Drew School in San Francisco; the Miami Art Museum and the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.
It's an essential book for any designer who wishes to change the nature of urban areas filled with concrete and make the natural world available to everyone. As the planet continues to warm and population increases, cities filled with green walls are surely to become the norm in cities and suburbs around the world. And thanks goes to Patrick Blanc.