Jian Liu of @melbourne_foodforest judged our competition on Vertical Gardens. Photo: David Chalmers, winner.
We’re so grateful to Jian Liu of @melbourne_foodforest for judging our final competition for the year on Vertical Gardens. Read on for details of our runners up and winning entry.
I was really impressed with all the entries for this Vertical Gardens Competition. In my judging I was looking for how each entrant had used their creativity to maximise space, by growing 'up' - whether this be on trellises, arches, arbours, on a shed wall or another vertical surface they’d claimed for growing. I gave bonus points for entries that used sustainable or recycled materials. Keeping this in mind I’ve chosen the following runners up entrants, and then announce the winner!
Charles has created an attractive, productive and functional vertical system to grow an abundance of strawberries on a small balcony. The strawberries are planted into neat rows of terracotta pots, aligned vertically to maximise light and space. Given how quickly terracotta dries out, Charles has created an innovative watering system which involves a 70L bin (a makeshift water tank) which is connected to a pond pump and timer to irrigate his vertical garden through the day. The bin is fed from a hose connected to a kitchen sink and the lid can be opened to collect rainwater. Being a vertical system, the drippers only need to water the top row of strawberries while the lower rows are fed by the drips from the rows above. The entire vertical garden is on wheels and can be moved to chase the sun. Thank you for sharing such a clever growing system with us.
Jennifer has created a beautiful vertical wall using primarily cuttings acquired on her walks and from neighbours. After finding that her spot was too shady for herbs, she has since found hardy plants that thrive in the shady wall against her fence including Staghorn, Pig face and Tradescantia which looks lovely trailing off the wall - a great way to grow it given it can become weedy when planted in the ground. Jennifer has created a wall of green to glam up her fence, which makes a lovely view out of her kitchen window. Well done Jennifer!
WINNER: David Chalmers
In a tiny courtyard of 70 square meters, through creative use of vertical spaces, David has created an enchanting, lush green oasis filled with ornamentals and edibles. The centerpiece of the garden is a green wall filled with plants, growing on a sturdy structure attached to the house verandah. Together with the brightly hanging baskets dripping with fuschia flowers, David has created an inviting and intriguing space to admire and enjoy.
To ensure the success of his vertical garden, David has carefully chosen plant varieties that will grow happily with the limited rootspace available on a vertical wall, focusing on determinate perennial plants that are shade-tolerant.
One of the main pitfalls of vertical gardens is that they can dry out easily and need regular watering. David's vertical garden scored bonus points for its clever watering and water recycling system. His plants are initially irrigated with tank water, with any excess water being recycled by the recirculating drain during four hour daily micro irrigation cycles - with the total water usage in the garden less than the amount used for showering by the two owners.
Congratulations David on your impressive use of a small space, bringing a bit of jungle to your courtyard and creating such an efficient and sustainable watering system.