Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Planting Air: Thigmotrope

One can't help but be impressed by the creativity of landscape professionals in coming up with inventive new ways to express the concept of vertical greenery. The latest, spotted via Land+Living and later picked up on ASLA's blog The Dirt - this link to a NY Times article shows the use of varieties of Tillandsia, more commonly known as air plants, to create a dynamic interior green wall at the Bardessono Hotel in Yountville, California (i.e. Napa). Using an idea that every vertical greenery designer should be award of, Thigmotropism, which is "...the phenonomenon by which a living organism grows towards a supporting structure," the designers attached said Tillandsia to metal rods allowing them to float away from the wall in a light and dare I say 'airy' way.

:: images via NY Times

While the NY Times hails the uses of soil-less epiphytes as a 'new' solution (Patrick Blanc would politely disagree, I gather) this project does use the solution in a beautiful and appropriate way. "The vertical garden, a striking substitute for wasteful displays of cut flowers, was produced through a collaboration by Flora Grubb, a landscape designer; her fiancé, Kevin Smith; and Seth Boor, an architect. Because it was conceived fairly late in the building process, there was no way to include irrigation infrastructure, so the drought-tolerant plants are misted by hose every few days."

:: additional images via Land+Living

There isn't any irrigation, so the plants are watered via hand misting... usings a minimal amount of irrigation. And in typical fashion, it looks like the designers and builder are inching towards some movement towards packaging with their site Thigmotrope... although I've always thought that the marketing genius of a garden store owner and landscape designer named Flora Grubb was a pretty good stroke of wit, and a lot more sexy of a concept that Thigmotropism... call it destiny.

:: final image w/ designers - via Thigmotropism


  1. I would be interested to learn how these installations have held up almost 18 months later. These tillandsias have rather specific requirements and I would not expect a long life in a building lobby

    -Rob Halpern

  2. It's nearly two years after this story ran. Regarding Rob's excellent question, how are the Tillandsias doing? Thriving or stressed out?

  3. I don't have that answer - so might suggest checking out the links of the designers linked in the story or the client and finding out...


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