Last week Toronto hosted the Green Living Show, a consumer show featuring everything from greywater irrigation systems to renewable energy (solar, wind, water) to food made from organic ingredients. In other words, everything you need to live the eco existence, including a keynote address by none other than Bill Clinton, who headlined with top tips for living green.
Mixed in with the usual contenders—chemical-free cleaning supplies, organic sauces served up with pretzels (what show would be complete without these freebie stalls?), the seemingly un-ironic car companies touting their hybrid vehicles—was a single vendor selling a basic, low-tech idea: The Living Wall.
Like any wall system, The Living Wall acts as both a privacy screen and a noise dampener, except instead of being built out of synthetic materials (brick, steel, iron) this wall is made from willow shrubs that grow quickly, is easy to maintain (the stalks keep their shape and don’t require special watering) and are hardy enough to survive the both the heat of Houston and the frigid wrath of Winnipeg.
The concept behind The Living Wall is quite old, derived from the basic recipe of combining two-year-old willows with wooden posts, which provide stability and force the shoots to project upward and straight. The Wall can be as long as you want, planted as a single line or in rows for added privacy, or in combination with other organic wall systems (see more pictures here). Willows have a lifespan of about 30 to 40 years, so replanting is necessary; other than that, the only maintenance required is gentle trimming.
Completely organic and graffiti-proof, this carbon-dioxide absorber establishes itself quickly, blends in with nature and is cheap to build and maintain—clearly a winning combination when it comes to landscaping.