"I live on the fifth floor of an apartment block, I have an ugly view from my living room, the courtyard gets very little sun and there is no drainage."
On LinkedIn Mark Laurence, a sustainable planting designer, gave me a lecture because I was posting about recycled plastic plants.
"There is nothing good about plastic, recycled or otherwise".
I was told I needed to stop what I was doing and work with real plants. I was given a lecture on my suppose drive for the dollar. I needed to take responsibility for my actions.
After the bollocking I have received from environmentalists since 2018 I was thankful for Mark's honest dialogue.
A few points.
Situations where plastics are advantageous are all around. Plastic with a 5 year plus life is a more responsible material choice for objects that were once made from metal (the carbon footprint of metal is greater than plastic).
If we are going to cram people into tiny living spaces there is a need to offer solutions for our innate need to be surrounded by plants.
After growing real plants on walls for 5 years I generally stopped. In many urban situations, especially indoors, real vertical gardens are not a wise design choice. People tend to be better off using a well designed piece of fabric, wall paper, timber panelling or - plastic wall plants. Its best to put real plants on floors and desktops - its easier, cheaper, looks great, improves air quality and keeps the human spirit in touch with nature.
Vertical Gardens are bling. They have their place but they are not solving real everyday problems for Mr and Mrs and Ms.
Mark after looking at your website I see much of it is geared towards those who are fortunate to own land.
Maybe landscape designers who work in the residential sector, and are serious about addressing issues to do with sustainability, need to be working within the constraints of medium to high density living?
Elon Musk talks about turning Earth into a National Park - a place we visit. If we need to get off this planet to save ourselves there will be a need to invest in new materials.
Regardless of our need to possibly grow plants on Mars people want/need gardens in impossible places, on earth, right now.
Design led gardens such as yours Mark, create desire.
It is the real vertical garden market that is responsible for the onslaught of mass plastic green walls.
Plastic gardens take over where the real gardens fail. This is the pinch point. We need the best sustainable material available to give people what they want.
Its not really much help if designers dish up beautiful solutions, propose them as way to make urban spaces more inviting and then no one can afford to implement the ideas. If plants need a life support system to work is that really an environmental outcome?
By the way Garden Beet, or me, Felicity Jane Waters, encourages people to use real plants. I send potential customers out of my shop to spend money elsewhere. My accountant does not like me.
My customers are from a very wide demographic. My retail store attracts the everyday person as well as the corporate customers. They all have the same problem. They want/need plants on walls. People will spend between $60 to $2400 per square meter to solve the problem. On average a customer will spend $5000 at Garden Beet.
I quote those figures to demonstrate the preparedness of someone to get off the couch and do something about their problem.
What would happen to these problems if I did as you suggest Mark?
My life would be easier if I returned to working with real plants.