Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Summer Travels - Part 9: A Vertical Garden in Paris

I have been intrigued by Patrick Blanc's murs végétaux ever since coming across his gorgeous coffee table book The Vertical Garden (http://www.amazon.com/Vertical-Garden-Nature-City/dp/0393732592) sometime last winter when, surrounded on a daily basis by urban gray and wintry slush, I was desperately craving foliage. Since then I have been in awe of his creations, which sprout lushly from walls both inside and outside in places as different in terms of climate as Bangkok, Madrid, and Brussels. What really amazes me is how well these horticultural creations integrate visually into various environments and how they strike a balance between nature and artificiality. For a stunning gallery of Blanc's gardens as well as information on the science and technology behind the green walls and Blanc's own academic background as a botanist, you can visit his website at http://www.verticalgardenpatrickblanc.com/.

My own pictures are of a vertical garden Blanc created for the façade of the men's department of the Parisian department store Bazar de l'Hôtel de Ville or BHV in the Rue de la Verrerie. Created only in 2007, it is already a bit overgrown, testament to how happy the plants are in their somewhat unusual home. Paris has many wonderful installations by Blanc, among them the impressive front of the Musée du quai Branly next to the Eiffel Tower. Unfortunately it was already too dark to take pictures when I passed by that particular building and I did not have time to seek out any of Blanc's other gardens in the City of Lights, so these are the only pictures of Parisian vertical gardens I ended up with. Hopefully I will be able to see more on future visits to the city...and perhaps Blanc's designs are also gaining popularity on this side of the Atlantic and will become part of American cityscapes. Some of his works may apparently be seen already in New York City, Charlotte, and Los Angeles...


  1. Hi there. Thanks for dropping by CG. I find these verticals gardens are very fascinating too. You might want to check out the following link too :
    I think it's a great concept- adorning walls with plants.

  2. Hi,

    Thanks for the link! If only my rooms had more light to encourage plant growth, those units would make wonderful interior decoration elements...

  3. College Gardener, hi
    I've been enjoying looking round your blog. As a landscape historian living in Paris but educated in Cambridge MA and about to move to India, I found a great deal to interest me! You might like to see the post I did recently on Blanc's walls in Europe, including some news on ones which are struggling, and one sadly abandoned. Your thesis sounds interesting - do keep blogging on your emerging findings. Where are you studying?
    Best wishes, Jill


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