You'd think that a pretty new garden for your neighborhood would be well-received, but Simon Wall from Tractor Outdoor was met with pretty much the opposite reaction when he set out to build South Africa's first vertical garden. Luckily he persevered and the awesome living, growing billboard you see above is the result! Taking inspiration from Patrick Blanc's vertical gardens, Wall created a self-sufficient 6 x 12 meter living wall that is designed to represent the various countries around the world serviced by the project's sponsor, Emirates Airlines. Although that is somewhat ironic given the airline industry's soiled environmental record, this is an important development that definitely has potential to raise South Africa's overall eco-consciousness.
Different varieties of succulents were planted on a biodynamic felt screen imported from Germany. Behind it, a sensor-operated hydroponic drip irrigation system delivers both water and fertilizer to the plants when necessary. Since it doesn’t use soil, this system also requires very little maintenance and entails an impressive use of space that enhances an otherwise dull building in front of towering mountains. In order to fill in what should be oceans and sea, Tractor Outdoor planted an aqua-colored hybrid succulent called Graptoveria and the continents were populated with Aptenia Cordifolia. Whether or not we love the giant Emirates Airlines sign on the living wall, there’s no question that Simon Wall has made a wonderful contribution to South Africa by ushering in what we hope will become a bright green new trend.