When visiting Paris in 2007 I took just one photograph of a building amazingly covered with masses of plants and it was not until I did some research after my trip that I found that the green wall was a brand new creation of the Botanist, Patrick Blanc.  The building is Musée du quai Branly, located in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, on the left bank of the Seine, close to the Eiffel Tower.  The planting is 40 ft. high and 650 ft.(198 m) long.  The facade of the building took my attention as I had not seen anything like it.  The name Patrick Blanc is known world-wide as he now has installations in many countries including Australia.  He was born in Paris on June 3, 1953, and is a French botanist working at the French National Centre for Scientific Research where he specialises in plants from tropical forests.  He is the modern innovator of the green wall.  Although Blanc did not invent the vertical garden, he is responsible for modernizing and popularizing the garden type.  He describes his vertical garden as follows:  “….On a load-bearing wall or structure is placed a metal frame that supports a PVC plate 10 millimetres (0.39 in) thick, on which are stapled two layers of polyamide felt each 3 millimetres (0.12 in) thick. These layers mimic cliff-growing mosses and support the roots of many plants. A network of pipes controlled by valves provides a nutrient solution containing dissolved minerals needed for plant growth. The felt is soaked by capillary action with this nutrient solution, which flows down the wall by gravity. The roots of the plants take up the nutrients they need, and excess water is collected at the bottom of the wall by a gutter, before being re-injected into the network of pipes:  the system works in a closed circuit. Plants are chosen for their ability to grow on this type of environment and depending on available light…..”


To coincide with the arrival of the Pandas at the Adelaide Zoo in 2009, upgrades to existing infrastructure were also completed, including the entrance which houses a range of administrative functions. A Vertical Garden (or green wall) formed part of this upgrade and the area was opened in 2009.  Timothy Horton (Architect) says that one interesting aspect to the design for the Zoo was its extensive use of green walling to showcase plant species that are indigenous to the Adelaide Plains. “There was a need to demonstrate the zoo’s place as a significant horticultural park as well as a zoological organisation,” he says. “A green wall, or ‘living’ wall, is a wall that is covered with vegetation, which is grown in either soil or an inorganic growing medium supported in a specially designed supporting structure. The green wall plantings help to reduce overall temperatures of the building, which in turn reduces energy consumption. Green walls are also a means for water reuse, with the plants purifying slightly polluted water from the underground tank by absorbing the dissolved nutrients,” Timothy says.  “Underground water tanks irrigate the green walls and green roof using water captured from the ‘Level 1’ and Conservation Centre roofs. This avoids the need for potable drinking water to be used. Collectively, the zoo project includes around 10,000 new plants, including 200 trees.”

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ARGO ON THE PARADE is a favourite café of my granddaughters for the wide range of juices and luscious breakfasts. It is only a short walk from my home hence we visit quite often.  The service is great and the atmosphere is alive and friendly.   It attracts a young and vibrant clientèle.





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