"A vertical garden becomes a living organism by itself," Patrick Blanc, creator of vertical gardens speaking last night at SPUR (San Francisco Planning + Urban Research Association) about his contribution to the ‘New Roots’ project for Drew School. Ph.D botanist and a passionate plantsman, Blanc showed beautiful vertical gardens from Hawaii to Osaka, and from Bangkok to Manhattan.
During his presentation Blanc told of a new Begonia species he discovered in Thailand, an understory plant adapted to low light levels.
Recent project: Caixa Forum museum, Madrid - photo, courtesy Patrick Blanc.
Blanc's living wall for Quai Branly in Paris - photo, courtesy Patrick Blanc.
Blanc holding a sprig of Zauschneria californica.
Invigorating to learn Blanc plans to use California natives for the new project!
Not only does California possess a wealth of natives, but Blanc believes it’s important
for Drew School students to be exposed to native species.
On his first day in San Francisco, Blanc mentioned seeing plants from Mexico, South Africa, Canary Islands, Australia, New Zealand and Chile in city gardens,
but few natives! Blanc reiterated what San Francisco gardeners surely appreciate:
the exceptional climate, mild temperatures & foggy conditions
allow a great diversity of species to thrive.
New Roots Project for DREW School
Architects: ROMA Design Group
Living Wall/Vertical Garden: Patrick Blanc
Living Roof: Rana Creek
Green Building Consultant: Simon and Associates
Blanc expects to use a large cistern to collect water from the roof of the school building, to use for irrigation during the summer dry season. Journeying to the far corners of the globe, Blanc studies plants in their natural environments, motivated by his scientific work, and the botanical artistry of the living walls he creates. Blanc showed images from countless expeditions where he has documented the hanging, bending forms of plants growing vertically - at times in pockets of humus that collects in holes on limestone cliffs. “Vertical gardens are not just fashion,” he said, stressing the ability to combine as many as 100 species in a vertical garden: far more than when grown horizontally in a similar space. A diversity of species with similar growth habits can be brought together in a vertical garden, lessening the chances of disease or parasites.
Mini-Rooftop Terrace Garden on SPUR Urban Center,
LEED Certified green building that opened in May, 2009.
Champagne flowed and hors d’oeuvres were offered creatively on a moss-draped wall
and upright columns by Savoy catering.
Stay tuned for updates on the progress of Blanc's San Francisco project,
with expanded information on the technique used to create living walls.