The Vertical Garden Institute had its first event, a seminar at the Grand Opening of the Singer Hill Art Garden, on July 18, 2010. The seminar was presented by the Institute’s founder, Philip Yates. Yates is the owner (with his wife Vicki) of the Singer Hill Building and the Singer Hill Cafe.
Yates began researching vertical gardens in the winter of 2007, after seeing a huge vertical garden, designed by Patrick Blanc, on a five-story museum under construction in Madrid, Spain.
CaixaForum vertical garden in March 2008. Photo by BigFishJavi.
Patrick Blanc’s book “Vertical Gardens” includes a brief section on vertical garden design. Blanc’s book makes it clear that his technique is to grow plants between layers of cloth, staple the plants in place on sheets of expanded pvc, and use hydroponics to feed the plants. However, Blanc’s book leaves many unanswered questions. The Institute’s mission is to answer those questions with science-based research.
In 2009, using Blanc’s book as a guide, Yates built six 4′x8′ panels, a round panel, and a building-corner panel that is 12′x8′ on each side, plus a couple of columns built from surplus plastic buckets and barrels. Here are a couple of photos from the summer of 2009:
2009 patio garden panels with column in foreground
2009 patio garden area, pond under construction
In the fall of 2009, Yates went to Paris, France, Patrick Blanc’s home and the location of many of his vertical gardens. On the trip, he viewed many of these gardens and met with Patrick Blanc. He learned quite a bit both from both observation and discussion.
Based on lessons learned in Paris and in Oregon, Yates rebuilt and replanted the gardens he built in 2009. Here are some photos of the 2009 gardens taken in late July 2010:
Singer Hill Patio 2009 Panels shown in summer 2010, after replanting due to severe winter weather
2009 circle and corner garden shown in 2010
2009 columns shown in summer 2010
In the spring of 2010, Yates also installed 900 sq.ft. of vertical gardens on a 65′ long cinderblock wall, a 16′ high building wall, and 3 columns, in a new venue — the “Singer Hill Art Garden.”
Here are pictures of the Art Garden’s 2010 vertical gardens:
Art Garden “Long Wall”, planted May 2010, shown late July 2010
Art Garden “Tall Wall,” planted May 2010, shown late July 2010
On July 1, 2010, Yates leased his Art Garden and its vertical gardens to the newly-created Vertical Garden Institute.