• Going Green in the City: Imaginative Urban Gardening

    August 5, 2013 • Living

    ‘Even the smallest space can be utilised to make the world a little greener’

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    Living greenly in a large city can be something of a battle, especially when garden space comes at a premium, but when many believe that remaining in touch with nature is not only necessary for health but also happiness we have to start putting our creativity to the test.

    Landscape architect Stefano Marinaz is just one of the growing number of people directing his attention in the direction of space-limited urban gardening. He believes that green spaces not only improve quality of life but that they are also essential for reinstating a deeper connection with nature.

    A couple of months ago I made it along to the Clerkenwell Design Week in London, where in collaboration with Elips design and Viabizzuno lighting, Stefano had transformed the Elips London studio into a hanging vegetable garden with the aim of demonstrating how easy it is to improve space in a small city environment – and even to grow your own food – when actual floor space is limited.

    ‘We chose a hanging garden to show that we always can find a way to get greener. Even if we struggle to find space on the floor, or on the walls, we can hang from a ceiling or from a structure.’

    The result was an interesting combination of upside-down plants (which were supposed to encourage you to pick your own fruit and herbs) and hanging basket type arrangements. It wasn’t quite to my taste – I prefer my plants a bit more wild – but I appreciated the sentiment.

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    If this is a little too much design over practicality for you, there are other alternatives.  Glass jar planters are becoming an increasingly popular and inexpensive way to encourage green growth within the home. To create your own indoor plantations: take a few large jam jars and fill the bottom with rocks to aid drainage, before lightly filling with earth and adding seeds.

    Enterprising experimenters have even attached the jars to reclaimed wood boards to create pretty indoor herb gardens which are also useful for cooking…

    The increasing demand for urban gardening products has also seen the likes of The Espresso Mushroom Company evolve. They collect used coffee grounds from cafes around Brighton and then use the grounds to grow their own Oyster mushrooms. They also encourage you to grow your own with their fantastic kitchen gardens (which are no larger than a tea bag box). Follow three simple instructions and you can grow your own Oyster Pearl mushrooms from a kitchen shelf within two weeks proving you don’t need outdoor space to harvest your own food.

    For more about the Espresso Mushroom Company visit: http://espressomushroom.co.uk/

    Tell us what you think!