The Hanging Gardens of Fremantle

What fun we've had designing and maintaining these hanging gardens in the Newport Hotel on South Tce (opposite Ginos) in Fremantle. Garden Deva was invited by talented interior designer Jill Stiely to help with plant selection, supply and layout. Now 7 months old, apart from a few teething problems, the garden is growing beautifully. 

Last week, in preparation for the new kitchen which is open next week (November 17, 2014 ); the vertical herb gardens were installed (see middle pic below, apologies for the poor image quality). These herbs will have to be monitored and swapped every week or 2 to ensure they receive enough light.  Of course, they'd really rather be outside but nonetheless, they are powering away as summer approaches and their light increases. The intention for the herb garden is for use by the chefs, bar staff for cocktails and hopefully even the clientele - maybe a few sprigs of parsley and mint might go someway to counteract the effects of too much alcohol?? Hmmn, perhaps not.  We haven't yet had too much vandalism which is a relief.. touch wood... and despite their various levels of intoxication, most people seem to really respect and enjoy the space

Below are some more pictures of the indoor laneway garden, including plants waiting to be potted up and manager Cory's herb hospital and recovery area.


As expected, a few pests like mealy bug have attacked the coleus but other than that, and the odd snail and caterpillar chewing leaves, the plants seem pretty happy. It has been a real learning experience to discover which just how much water these plants need to  be happy and there has been many a flooded floor when we've given them too much. My ongoing investigations regarding plant selection and pot microclimates have been rather educational - eg I find it interesting that the same plant, treated the same way thrives in one area yet its twin is suffering 3 metres away. Its a real fine tuning process.  
The fortnightly maintenance for this hanging garden involves climbing up and down a large ladder and wiping dust from all leaves (dust is the enemy of indoor plants); spraying for pests (organic where possible) and checking the self watering pots are not full of water, which creates unhealthy anaerobic and potentially lethal conditions for roots. Drainage is critical.
Tough plants have been chosen where possible. The plant palette includes Rhoeo discolour 'Stretch', Chlorophytum comosum (spider plant), various philodendrons, Spathiphyllums spp and Coleus Henna; amongst others.

The reticulation has been installed by Earth and Water. We have also incorporated fertigation, where liquid fertiliser is pumped through the irrigation system.

I would love to see all business grow more indoor plants as they provide a wonderful ambience, clean the air, providing oxygen and calm the nervous system. They help to create a healthier indoor space. Studies have shown that the addition of plants in the workplace may increase productivity by up to 12%