Last summer I was intrigued by vertical gardening schemes displayed at Prince Charles' London home, Clarence House. As part of the Prince's "Garden Party to Make a Difference", Tom Petherick, Adam Hunt and Lulu Urquhart used their imagination to create structures for a Future Cities garden where plants could be grown in a restricted space. This frame (above) using simple materials was one of their suggestions.
Fast forward to February, and it seems vertical gardening is a hot horticultural topic. Key companies in the industry have been unveiling their latest products to the media, and many are taking container gardening to new heights.
Products ranged from Harrod Horticultural's more conventional wooden ladder staging to these flower towers - rigid plastic cylinders with a clever internal watering system. (http://www.flower-tower.co.uk/)
This edible wall with troughs for larger vegetables or cascading plants is part of perhaps the most sophisticated range I spotted - Easiwall from Treebox. It also includes a vertical herb planter for the kitchen garden, and green screening for privacy and to hide eyesores.
.Vertigro (left), a free-standing modular system devised by Claude Lester. Full-sized growbags are sandwiched between curved sheets of Aluzinc, and suspended from a 165 cm high frame, ready to be planted up with flowers, herbs, and vegetables. Claude says they're ideal for patios, terraces and balconies and retain water well. http://www.vertigro.co.uk/
.The MiniGarden, by EarthBox, which comes in sets of three modules, each with three planting pockets. These can be arranged horizontally, vertically, or even back-to-back to create a double-sided 'wall' of growing containers. (http://www.earthbox.co.uk/)
I'm sure these products were under development well before the Clarence House event, but remembering Prince Charles' early championing of organic gardening, you realise this is not the first time he's been at the forefront of new trends.