Perhaps you have a small garden, and want to use that patio wall more effectively. Maybe you have a bad back and would prefer not to bend over. Or, maybe you just want an attractive place to grow your favorite plants. Whatever the reason, there are lots of different types of living walls, and they are easy to grow with the right gardening tips – whether it’s a sunny kitchen garden or a shady side yard.
To learn more about living walls, Seasonal Wisdom sat down recently with Shawna Coronado, book author, keynote speaker and media spokesperson. She also agreed to give one lucky winner a copy of her new book. But hurry! This giveaway won’t last long. Congratulations to Jess B. for winning this random drawing. All photos copyright Shawna Coronado.
My friend Shawna Coronado recently authored Grow a Living Wall: Create Vertical Gardens with Purpose (Cool Springs Press). Her four-color book gives step-by-step directions for building more than 20 attractive living walls, which are well suited to different growing conditions and design styles. From her home outside of Chicago, Shawna agreed one chilly autumn afternoon recently to share her thoughts on vertical gardening.
Leafy vegetables and ornamental vines grow in this living wall.
Q) What was the most important thing you wanted to show people about growing a living wall, Shawna?
A) Across the world, there is a crisis in growing useful and practical plants; there’s not enough space. A living wall can be done anywhere – on a fence, on a wall, on a balcony – and offers a no-weed, easy-to-maintain solution for people who would like to grow their own organic plants.
A) People think their living wall gardens will dry out quickly from being too exposed to wind. The secret to preventing this situation is creating proper soil combinations. If you make a heavier soil mix for the vertical gardens, then the plants are less likely to dry out and more likely to succeed because you will be keeping the root systems moist.
Shady side yard with two living walls and a rain barrel.
Q) Your book has gardens that do everything from attract pollinators to provide ingredients for your dinner. Why was it important to you to show that living walls can have purposes?
A) In the United States, we often have gardens that I think are not environmentally friendly. Many are fueled by artificial fertilizers and chemicals, which are not necessary. I consider these types of gardens lower on the useful scale. Growing plants that are organic, helpful for therapeutic purposes, ornamental and edible, as well as beautiful, means the environmental impact is reduced and the impact on humanity is certainly more positive. Having a purpose for a garden means it is contributing somehow to a gardener’s well-being. Gardens that do this are important for mental health, because they contribute to our overall emotional needs and well-being.
Q) How did you select different gardens for your book?
A) First I found the living wall systems that truly worked, then I found locations for the systems that would work well, then I selected the plants. This is the same thing we might do for any raised garden or container system — find a container, find a spot, pick the plants and go.
Q) Anything you want to add that we haven’t discussed?
A) One of the most surprising things that happened recently is that I was diagnosed with spinal osteoarthritis after I wrote this book. Who could have guessed that I would need this style of gardening more than ever, because it is absolutely perfect for people who have a difficult time with traditional gardening? This gardening “up” technique reduces pain and discomfort while gardening. Arthritis-sufferers like me, in particular, will find this book useful for them because it can help make gardening easier.
Win this Book!
Here’s your chance to enter to win a copy of Grow a Living Wall.
It’s easy to enter, and there are different ways to participate.
Just use this Rafflecopter device, which allows Seasonal Wisdom to randomly select a winner.
The Fine Print: This giveaway ends Nov. 18 at midnight, and is limited to U.S. citizens. The winner will be immediately contacted, and has until Nov. 23 to claim the prize before another winner is selected. PLEASE check your spam folders to see if you won.
This book and prize were supplied by the author at no charge. However, Seasonal Wisdom was not compensated for this blog post, and my opinion is my own.
Thanks for participating, and good luck.