Hebe Shall Keep Us Young


Author: Hans

An early morning on spot in the centre of Thessaloniki. Even though the 8th of December turned out to be a cold day,  we were all eager to create a vertical garden at the veranda of a café and bistro.

Ten hands, five species

The plants had already arrived so the first big climber plants were put into the gardineras and rolled into place. Half an hour later it was time for the vertical garden to start taking its shape. The new modular green wall is based on a simple and lovely system. Each of the 1250 plants has its own little modular pot and is then simply clicked into the system.

Putting the little five months old plants into their pots had to be done with care so all the roots were hidden and only their little curly hair pops out. With ten hands we started potting the five different species. After a while everyone had his own favourite. Mine was the piercing green curly headed hebe, which is named after the Greek goddess of youth and vividness.

Every part counts

The potting went faster and faster while the weather grew colder and colder. Then it was time to put the first pots onto the wall and click them into the system, following the master plan, which marked every plant species with a colour. After some time the plants didn’t have names anymore but they had become colours. “Three red, then five blue. Four green up then two green to the side and then 15 red.”

Row by row the wall took its shape… while at the same time the irrigation system still needed to be implemented. It was not easy as every row has its own pipe and over 1200 thirsty plants need a lot of pipes. With the early sunset our work could no longer be continued and we would have to proceed the following day.

And we continued… till the end

The next day, same time, same place, but working much faster, as all of us wanted to finish the wall that very evening, the last plant was put into place and with the irrigation system up and running the vertical garden was complete. In our speed we didn’t notice   how our work was turning out and when we finally stopped to look, we were overwhelmed with the result. We were facing a green jungle in the middle of an urban environment. These little hebe and ferns now grow and beautify the space, living in this carefully constructed system, while the guests & passers-by truly admire them.