He built one, and here they come.

Seth Stottlemyer’s first vertical garden is a stunner! Trained in Washington, DC, apprenticed in New York, and now headquartered in Sarasota, this entrepreneur brings a little northern exposure to the sunny South.

As a rising star landscaper, Seth is big on keeping up to date ─ not surprising since he managed energy efficiency programs at Con Edison, received professional certification from Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (headquartered in Toronto), and studied at the New York Botanical Garden. He apprenticed at the renowned Town and Gardens firm in New York City, rising to manage high profile residential and commercial sites.

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One might think that in Florida, only tropical plants that soak up the sun all day survive – not so. “Our vertical garden is north facing and doesn’t get a lot of direct sun. In fact, there is a slight roof overhang,” says Seth. So he created a masterpiece including ferns, philodendrons, bromeliads and peperomia, which work well in lower light. Peperomia’s many varieties include silver and burgundy stems and leaves for added punch; that and its attractively mounted compact habit make it a great wall companion.

Needless to say, the living wall creates “A lot of buzz. I think this will take off big for me,” Seth says. One project gained as a result is a 9×11-foot wall for a new client’s dining terrace, which is surrounded by indirect light.

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Seth also creates gorgeous container gardens and raised vegetable beds, and is particularly adept at xeriscaping ─ the process of creating water-efficient, striking landscapes that replace those water-hogging grass lawns. (Xeros means “dry” in Greek.)

“Xeriscaping is taking off down here,” he says. “We’re using hardscaping like shells and rocks and drought resistant plants. There is a lot less maintenance: no need to cut, weed and fertilize all that grass.”

Seth-Strottlemyer-Oasis-Gardenscapes-Xeriscaping-ProjectsSeth grew up gardening and running the family business in Sarasota, but after years of work and education up north, he enjoys getting to know the southern plant palette again.

Seth-Strottlemeyer-Oasis-Gardenscapes-Florafelt-Vertical-Garden-Planters-4“We have a lot of courtyards where vertical gardens would be perfect,” he says. “I want to promote herb gardens and lettuces, which are popular here. With my experience in New York City, you have to bring your professional A game to high-end properties. I’m also excited to bring in my own artistry and flavor.”

Designing In Sync With Mother Nature

Holy bromeliad, Batman! Jeffrey Allis of Tru Vine Design creates spectacular living walls and adds real value for his clients just by looking around.

“I don’t sell just green walls −it’s an environment,” this South Florida designer and horticulturist says. Passionate about plants since age 13, he’s built much of his success by embracing the scientific principles of biomimicry. Put simply, biomimicry is an approach to finding sustainable solutions by imitating nature’s own patterns and strategies. For instance, the design behind velcro actually mimics how burrs grab and hold on in nature!

 

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Jeff sees biomimicry in action through his extensive travels through the U.S., Europe and Central and South America. It’s in these latter regions − Panama, Brazil, Nicaragua – where he finds inspiration for his Florida gardens. He observes how plants act in their natural environment and comes back with new and often surprising revelations.

“I never thought agaves would work, but I traveled to Nicaragua and saw agave sticking out of a wall. I saw it grown in nature,” he says. “The philodendron family likes to crawl up, over rock faces, so they’re a good choice. Bromeliads also do well.”

“God’s got this down. Don’t be complicated, be observant.”

Jeff has built a distinguished name for himself as a trusted expert on which plants work together in a vertical garden and which don’t.  Often his walls contain more than 1,000 specimens. “Lots of people build green walls that are meant to fail,” he says. “There are so many nuances: wind, sun, light, time of year. I’ve turned down projects that won’t work. Be honest. When I turn down business, I gain business.”

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Jeff also calls himself a biophilic designer, biophilia meaning the instinctive bond between human beings and nature.  “There’s evidence that our environment shapes our feelings and has a positive impact on us,” he says. “Plants make people feel happier, healthier. They have positive energy and affect our psychological well-being.”

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With this in mind, Jeff works with each client to deliver an intensely personal experience. And that’s not all. “I want to take biophilic design to another level and get involved with a children’s hospice, creating gardens to help people heal,” he says.

Jeff thinks we’ve just begun to tap vertical gardening’s potential as a healing tool for ourselves and for the planet. “Right now, America designs green walls for decorating mostly,” he says. “In the future, green walls will be more recognized for their ability to cool spaces, bring the electric bill down, and use water wisely.”

Brandon Pruett. Amanda Goldberg, Planted Design. Florafelt Pro System.

Six Ways To Scrub Your Air

 

What’s better than the gift of clean air? Thanks to her unique skills in green building and regenerative design, Amanda Goldberg of Planted Design has the air quality thing down, so breathe easy. Learn more about her vertical gardens, also available for rent, and innovative ideas that combine beauty with healthier air, inside and out.

Did you know? 70% of the detoxing our bodies need is supplied by breathing (perspiration provides 20%). And yet, dangerous volatile organic compounds released by carpets, copiers, and most any synthetic item in our lives rob us of clean air daily!

“People often don’t think about the VOC gases given off by fresh paint, flooring, carpet and cleaning products,” says Amanda. “More people in a room also raise carbon dioxide levels. Too much CO2 makes us sleepy and causes headaches, nausea and sickness.”

With all those hazardous compounds and carbon dioxide hanging around, Amanda creates living walls that work hard to remove ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and other toxins from the home and workplace. Thanks to photosynthesis, plants also replace toxins with vital oxygen.
Amanda’s top plant picks for healthier indoor air

Peace-Lily
1. Peace Lily
Spider-Plant
2. Spider Plant
Snake-Plant
3. Snake Plant
Philodrendon
4. Philodendron
Orchids
5. Orchid
Pothos
6. Pothos

Amanda created her first vertical garden while working for Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, helping companies such as Aveda design products for a sustainable economy. Last March, she “took a leap” and started her own business bringing walls to life. She started with an 8×4-foot mobile vertical garden for the Natural Products Expo in Anaheim, CA, then installed it in her client’s office in Palo Alto, CA.

Pothos Vertical Garden for Go Raw by Amanda Goldberg Planted Design.
Pothos Vertical Garden for Go Raw by Amanda Goldberg, Planted Design.

Now her creativity knows no bounds. With her unique custom portable gardens, Amanda is tapping into, and ramping up, the market for living wall rentals – weddings, conferences, photo booths and more. Because these gardens need backlighting, company logos and other special touches, Amanda turns to a whole community of artisans to bring out the best in her projects. As a ceramic artist and industrial designer who created a “living desk” for her college thesis, perhaps it’s only natural. “I enjoy the collaborative spirit. It inspires and invigorates me,” she says.

Partners in design: Amanda and Brandon Pruett from Living Green Design co-created this living wall in San Francisco’s Mission District, turning a sterile heat island into a thriving green oasis.

Brandon Pruett. Amanda Goldberg, Planted Design. Florafelt Pro System.
Brandon Pruett. Amanda Goldberg, Planted Design. Florafelt Pro System.
Root Wrapping Volunteers on a San Francisco Rooftop. Planted Design. Florafelt Pro System.
Root Wrapping Volunteers on a San Francisco Rooftop. Planted Design. Florafelt Pro System.

Amanda says she’s happy with the ease and flexibility of Plants On Walls‘ Florafelt system. “You can put plants in, then exchange them for a different aesthetic as your style changes.”

How much is enough? For a 1,800 square foot house, a NASA study recommends 15 to 18 good-sized plants that clean the air and give off oxygen.

Amanda Goldberg. Planted Design.
Amanda Goldberg. Planted Design.
Davis Dalbok, Living Green Design. Decorator Showcase 2013.

Exploring Color and Contrast

Monet would be proud. Living Green Design is a noted San Francisco firm that, in their words, “takes a unique approach to garden design that crosses borders, styles and trends.” Their folks believe strongly that interior design, plantscapes and style should all connect to the exterior garden seamlessly. A vertical garden was an ideal way to incorporate this concept of unified indoor and outdoor living.

Davis Dalbok, founder and principal designer, and Brandon Pruett, who specializes in creating multi-dimensional vertical living walls, installed a large, 20×10-foot vertical garden at their San Francisco showroom.

Davis Dalbok, Brandon Pruett. Living Green Design Showroom.
Davis Dalbok, Brandon Pruett. Living Green Design Showroom.

They filled the Florafelt system with a vibrant textural feast of ferns, grasses, yellow oxalis and even trees − Japanese maple!

Oxalis is especially versatile when “painting” a vertical garden: besides yellow, the profuse flowers are available in pink, purple and white, and their foliage adds even more color and texture: chartreuse, purple, maroon, silver, purple-black, speckled combos and more.

Davis Dalbok, Brandon Pruett. Living Green Design Showroom.
Davis Dalbok, Brandon Pruett. Living Green Design Showroom.

Oxalis also thrives in part shade and likes well-drained, moist soil. Reliable up to zone 5, the plants can be treated as perennials in warmer climes; they’ll need overwintering inside if grown in climates like the Midwest, or they can be treated as annuals.

Davis says the garden is a hit. “When clients enter, they are so impressed by the diversity of plant material, and the sheer scale, that they almost always begin to figure out how they might incorporate something similar into their home or office. Most of the ambient natural light comes from skylights above, so this garden provides the perfect opportunity to ‘zone’ the placement of plants in the overall design, demonstrating how one can achieve a successful installation by addressing all of the particulars.”

Davis Dalbok, Living Green Design. Decorator Showcase 2013.
Davis Dalbok, Brandon Pruett, Living Green Design. Decorator Showcase 2013.

Plant materials for their showroom were repurposed from the 2013 Decorator Showcase in Pacific Heights San Francisco. Birds of prey was the title of this exhibition that featured grasses and conifers, maples and ferns.

All plants which are not typical to vertical gardening but were a total transformation of this enclosed space to a lush landscape of lore.

The Living Green team continues to delight and amaze with their unique vision that delivers an experience to be remembered.

Florafelt Vertical Garden Aquaponics by Kate Humble, Humble by Nature UK.

Aquaponic Vertical Vegetable Garden

Florafelt Wall Planters are employed to grow a variety of vegetables at a sustainable future farming concept greenhouse. The entire vertical garden system was supplied by Eden Green Walls for the Humble By Nature’s Solar Aquaponic Greenhouse in Wye Valley, UK.

Aquaponics by Kate Humble, Humble by Nature UK.
Aquaponics by Kate Humble, Humble by Nature UK.

Led by Kate Humble, Aquaponics UK are providing technical expertise to explore sustainable food growing techniques using aquaculture, farming fish, and hydroponics with few inputs and many, high value outputs. The goal is to recycle the nutrient rich water into soil-less vegetable production filtering the water in the process so it can be constantly reused.

Aquaponics Greenhouse by Kate Humble, Humble by Nature, UK.
Aquaponics Greenhouse by Kate Humble, Humble by Nature, UK.

This passive solar greenhouse is designed to house a productive, edible ecosystem which is also combined with a variety of other complementary farming techniques such as producing fish and poultry food from insects, growing mushrooms from used coffee grounds and growing poultry, fed from by-products of the system.

Florafelt Vertical Garden Aquaponics by Kate Humble, Humble by Nature UK.
Florafelt Vertical Garden Aquaponics by Kate Humble, Humble by Nature UK.

Chris and Gary’s Vertical Garden

Florafelt 12-Pocket Vertical Garden Planted with Succulents by Chris Bribach, Plants On Walls.
Florafelt 12-Pocket Vertical Garden Planted with Succulents by Chris Bribach, Plants On Walls.

Chris and Gary used a 12-Pocket Florafelt Vertical Garden Planter to create an easy care succulent display for their San Francisco balcony. Succulents are great for saving water and can be hand watered weekly.

The design by Chris Bribach of Plants On Walls incorporated earthy tones to blend with the natural wood siding. Then incorporated a base of green on the edges to give definition. Use of trailers let it hang down wile other succulents will reach upward.

The Florafelt 12-Pocket Planter is 32 inches wide and 24 inches tall. The felt pockets are pre-stapled to a lightweight plastic board that has nylon tabs on the top corners. Simply hung from deck screws.

Succulents are a great way to learn vertical gardening if you have the right conditions. First you’ll need lots of bright light and no frost conditions. Best for our more arid states and continents. Chris and Gary use a hand pumped pressure sprayer to water once a week and also rinse off the plants. Succulents like to go nearly dry between waterings. They are so easy you even place a cutting in soil and they will root and grow.

For their design each pocket receives a felt wrapped wrap grouping of plants. In this case two 4 inch potted plants are placed into each pocket. By arranging pairs or groupings a more detailed flow can be created.

Chris Bribach demonstrates how use Florafelt Root Wraps to create a succulent display.

Vividly Succulent Vertical Garden

Dany Rojany of Bella Casa in Venice Beach, California created graphic designs that mimic the architecture with living succulents. The designs were created using Florafelt planters attached to a chain link support. The design was continued on both sides of this living fence above the interior courtyard water feature.

Florafelt vertical garden by Bella Casa, Venice Beach, California. Photo: Jeff Higginbotham
Florafelt vertical garden by Bella Casa, Venice Beach, California. Photo: Jeff Higginbotham
Florafelt vertical garden by Bella Casa, Venice Beach, California. Photo: Jeff Higginbotham
Florafelt vertical garden by Bella Casa, Venice Beach, California. Photo: Jeff Higginbotham
Florafelt vertical garden by Bella Casa, Venice Beach, California. Photo: Jeff Higginbotham
Florafelt vertical garden by Bella Casa, Venice Beach, California. Photo: Jeff Higginbotham
Florafelt vertical garden by Bella Casa, Venice Beach, California. Photo: Jeff Higginbotham
Florafelt vertical garden by Bella Casa, Venice Beach, California. Photo: Jeff Higginbotham