green living wall garden- Edmonton International Airport 1

Living Wall Garden

Last week I flew into Alberta expecting their usual June entertainment.  Hot sunshine, rampant mosquitoes and evening lightning storms.  The big sky & open prairies create that kind of excitement.  I wasn’t expecting a touch of the tropics, but that’s what appeared before me at the Edmonton International Airport.

green living wall garden- Edmonton International Airport 1
photo by SVSeekins

Even though family was waiting for me at arrivals, I just had to stop & check it out.   Through the glass, I could see the wall descended a 2nd full story down into another part of the airport.  It was a massive living wall garden!

green living wall garden- Edmonton International Airport 2
photo by SVSeekins

The lounge to the left of the glass was a lovely spot for passengers to relax while waiting to board their planes.  It also allowed me the opportunity to walk up close to see if the plants were real.  They were.   🙂

This particular wall was created by Mike Weinmaster of Green Over Grey, a company that builds green walls across North America.  Apparently, Mike has a Masters of Science in Environmental Engineering & Sustainable Infrastructure.  It figures it would take some know-how for adding moist tropicals to a building’s wall without having it rot out & fall down in short order.  🙂

outdoor plant wall at the Surrey Library 2
photo by Barbara Hansen

As it turns out, these are the same folk who created the world’s largest outdoor living wall on the library in Surrey (Vancouver).  Some friends & I ran across that piece of public art shortly after it was planted in the fall of 2010.

It has all sorts of drought-tolerant native plants that typically thrive on rocky cliff sides with minimal soil.  I figured it was smart to add the new plantings in autumn after the stress of summer heat had passed.  The new little guys were probably much happier getting acclimatized during the fall wet.

I’ve wanted to make a pilgrimage back there, to see how the vertical garden is surviving. Imagine the 3D effect of a short mat of wild strawberries, interspersed with Oregon grape shrubs  & grasses growing out from the wall itself.  That’s depth & texture, eh?

Vertical Wall Garden inside the Atrium building in Victoria
Photo by Barbara Hansen

A couple of months later, those same friends from the Vancouver trip discovered a small version of a bio wall inside a little café in Victoria’s Atrium building.  When I inquired, it turned out Green Over Grey created it as well.  What wonderful botanical art!

Since then, I’ve been looking for a guest for our garden club to speak about creating a vertical garden.  More projects are showing up around town, but so far, folks are so busy building these plant walls, that I haven’t been able to get anyone to spare an evening for us.  I can understand.  These projects look pretty fun to me.  I wouldn’t want a distraction from my goal of completing one.  🙂

© SVSeekins and Garden Variety Life, 2013

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9 thoughts on “Living Wall Garden”

  1. So I was just down in White Rock today and was admiring the gorgeous library living wall, wish I had taken some pictures for you, it has done very well. I work @ Kwantlen Polytechnic University and they put a living wall inside the new portion of the library many years ago but it has never done very well, problems with the water pump and just not enough light to encourage it to thrive!

    1. Yes please – – share some photos next time you’re at that library. In the meantime, I’m curious to see some shots of the college’s project.

  2. Glad to hear you enjoyed our living wall garden at the airport. We got a really good look at it on our way to & from a 3 week trip to Hawaii.. Impressive!

    Next time you’re in our fair city, we would love to get together…hope you missed our tornado warning weather!

    Last summer, we received a Strathcona in Bloom nomination for our front yard so the all the work was worth it. Service people in the County: mail man, meter reader etc put our name forward, then a committee comes by to see if the yard is worthy of a nomination then leave a sign for all to see… we were most surprised! Thought you might be interested.

    Always enjoy your blog Keep up the good work! Hello to C.


    1. Congrats on the front yard honor! That’s super. Now I’m really curious… could you email me a couple photos?
      Yes, we’ll certainly look y’all up when we’re in your fair city.
      Thanks for the lovely comments ’bout the blog. I hope you continue enjoying it.
      cheers, SV
      p.s. C says ‘hi’ 🙂

  3. Hi SV

    Glad to hear how much you enjoyed our living wall garden at our newly expanded and upgraded airport. We also enjoyed taking it all in upon our return from a glorious 3 week vacation in Hawaii.

    Next time you are in our fair city, we would love to be able to connect with you. Hope you had a good time & got to experience our warm sunshine & not too many of our thunderstorms…

    Hi to C.


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