PLANTING a green wall is a terrific way of using more plants in your garden, writes TOM ATTWOOD. It is especially useful where space is tight or at a premium. As a method of growing and using plants they arrived with a bang some years ago and it was heralded as the ‘next big thing’ in gardening. As with all labels it can help or hinder the take up of such an approach and it didn’t necessarily help green walls as they instantly became ‘trendy,’ which in my experience puts many people off which is a pity. But quietly, simmering in the background, the take up and use of them is growing and if anything, it is the world of contemporary and innovative architecture where they are pushing their use in this country.

When it comes to making a green wall at home there’s useful guides on line and a good smattering of books on the subject. There are ready made planting pockets specifically designed to be used on green walls and some even come with built in watering pipes and mini reservoirs to sit alongside them. These plastic kits are a good place to start but an alternative method is to do something yourself by creating a simple grid/shelf-rack that can be securely fixed to the wall and this accommodates individual pots of plants that slot into the spaces. I helped a friend out recently who wanted to create a green wall in the narrow space between her house and that of her neighbours. An existing, robust fence had been built years ago and could (rather conveniently) accommodate plastic window boxes by fixing them in the cavities of the fence. The boxes were set above one another in a basic grid and filled with soil-based compost. The planting includes those that will trail and others with a more upright habit. A lack of natural sunlight dictated the choice of hardy plants and we went for a mixture of ferns, bugle (Ajuga) and a silver-leaved Brunnera; a lush green planting in the narrowest of shady spaces.

Next week: growing a fruit tree against a wall