The Problem – Adding Naturalness and Aesthetics to Rockscapes
Another variation on the use of felt or landscape fabric for creating additional vertical gardening space is the Tube Planter. The Tube Planter is the brainchild of Patrick McWhinney, a southern California man who needed a way to enhance the designs of rock and waterfall formations for his landscape design business. He wished to give his landscape projects that incorporated artificial rockscapes a greater sense of naturalness and aesthetic appeal by strategically adding plants to the mix.
The Solution – A Geotextile Fabric, Soil and Hydroponics
The solution he came up with was to encase a soil mix within a geotextile fabric in a cylindrical form. Water retention characteristics will vary with the soil mix, and smaller sections can be watered by hand, but any application of decent size will require watering via drip irrigation or hydroponics installation. These cylinders come in various lengths and widths to accommodate a variety of planting sizes and situations. Slits were cut in the fabric allowing plants to be embedded in the cylinders. As the plants grew, the fact that they were growing in a cylinder of dark fabric would become obscured by the plant’s foliage, giving his rockscapes the appearance of a natural rocky outcropping with plants gaining a foothold in whatever crevasses and crannies might be available. Thus was born the Tube Planter.
Versatility in the Vertical Garden
As it turned out, these cylinders found a place as vertical gardening components, as well: position one upright with a support post, you have a living column; mount one or more horizontally on a wall or fence, a living wall; attach them to an arch support, and your garden path is adorned with a living entrance. Does a steep, bare rock face in your backyard need a makeover? Anchor Tube Planters directly into the rock, and a lush garden takes its place.