Vertical garden

For all the city dwellers out there who are frustrated gardeners, who think that they can’t garden because of a lack of space, take heart from an interesting gardening trend that has become popular in some European centres.

Known as metro-horticultural or vertical allotments, people challenged by their square footage are building gardens on their walls and growing their own vegetables and herbs for harvesting.

With the rising interest in using local produce, vertical gardening looks set to be an increasingly popular trend of the future as newly built homes become even smaller and more eco-friendly and urban populations around the world become denser.

The trend is not limited to homes – a chic new restaurant in Spain, for example, uses some of the produce from its ‘green’ wall. Green walls are also being used in new shopping centres, offices and London’s Olympic village to soften hard architectural lines and increase the ambience.

Building a green wall can add great value to your home. They’re useful for creating a feature of a wall or fence or disguising an ugly wall or corner. They can add texture, light and interest to any size of home and of course there’s the added bonus of being able to grow your own dinner.

Some companies in the UK are selling wall garden kits like the MiniGarden system, made up of modules that can be assembled as a free standing garden or can be screwed to a wall or fence. Unfortunately I don’t know if anyone is offering these garden wall modules locally, if I hear of any outlets I’ll post the details here. To be really eco-friendly, of course, it’s smarter to build your own.

Interesting news from the UK, it seems that the popularity of lawns in London is waning, which could have disastrous results for the city in terms of its wildlife and environment.

London has always been known for its beautifully maintained public gardens, but private gardens are taking a knock. People are paving and decking over their lawns because of cost and maintenance issues, as well as the rise in popularity of programmes like Ground Force, a gardening magazine programme that tends to treat gardens as outside rooms.

Read more about the issue here

1. Cut it too short

    If you cut your lawn too short, or cut it unevenly, it will cause sections of the grass to die off, resulting in brown patches. Check that your lawn mower is on the appropriate setting for your lawn – if it’s not, and parts of your lawn is dying, carefully fertilise and water, it should recover in a matter of weeks depending on the severity of the cut and the time of year.

    2. Fertilise incorrectly
    If you use chemical fertilizer, spread it carefully and evenly across the lawn, don’t over fertilise and don’t allow clumping – this will kill your lawn and if it’s bad enough, it may never recover. A safer option is to use organic fertilizer, it’s more expensive but worth it because it’s idiot proof. If you do use a chemical fertilizer, it’s essential to water immediately after spreading. If your fertilizer has caused damage, you’ll probably have to cut out the affected sections and lay roll on grass. Another solution is to fill in the holes with lawn dressing to encourage surrounding grass to grow in, watering and nurturing carefully but this can take 2 to 3 months before recovery is complete.

3. Spray the wrong weed killer

    A common mistake that people make is to spray the weeds in general areas with an all purpose weed killer, then using the same spray bottle for selective weed killer on their lawns. You need to clean the bottle thoroughly, at least 3 times or more, to ensure that there is no residue from the all purpose weed killer left in the bottle before spraying the lawn – even the smallest amount can result in your lawn dying back. If you suspect that this is the cause of brown patches on your lawn, cutting and filling is the only solution.
    4. Lay the wrong grass
    Choose the right grass for your plot. If you have lots of shade in your garden choose only berea or buffalo grass. If there’s very little shade then you’re free to plant any of the popular grass types available in South Africa. If your grass isn’t growing in the shade, it might be the wrong type. Ask an expert to have a look.
    5. Cut it too often
    If you cut your grass too often in winter, it may be too cold for the grass to flourish. Cut too often in summer and without sufficient water, the heat will burn the grass and your lawn will die, depending on the grass type. If you have buffalo lawn, it may not survive such harsh treatment, while kikuyu can be brought back to life with careful nurturing.

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