An introduction to vertical gardening in the Lowcountry

Image by Amanda Click / TheDigitel

Over the past couple of weeks I've met some of the area's most passionate and knowledgeable horticulturalist on my quest to learn more about the vertical gardening movement taking place here in the Lowcountry.

First, let me explain vertical gardening.

Vertical gardening, a trend that first started popping up in large cities with little or no yard space, relies on the fact that plants will grow where ever there is light, nutrients, and support. The idea behind vertical gardening is that you don't need expansive yards or plots of land to produce beautiful gardens or bountiful harvests. With a little creativity and know-how, planting along vertical planes can transform a fence, wall, porch or balcony into a lush landscape.

For downtown residents with a green thumb, but nowhere to grow, vertical gardening may come as a Godsend. 

With that being said, the first stop on my adventure took me to the personal garden of Jim Martin, executive director of the Charleston Parks Conservancy and avid blogger. Martin is a lifelong gardener who has worked in public horticulture for 21 years on a variety of high-profile projects including the Botanical Garden at the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, S.C.

Upon my arrival I found him in his element, watering his awe-inspiring half-acre garden. Martin took me on a grand tour of the space then took the time to describe the handful of different techniques of growing vertically. The video included with this piece shows Martin describing how to create a living wall unit. In following installments, I'll be hooking you up with even more tutorials on starting wall gardens, rain chains and more.

To take a look at additional photographs of Martin's vertical gardening endeavors, check out our photo set of Flickr.

If you're passionate about creating your own vertical gardens, but want a crash course in horticulture and a wealth of related resources, check out the Charleston Horticultural Society. The Charleston Horticultural Society seeks to inspire excellence in Lowcountry horticulture and membership is open to all. 

On a related note, The New York Times published a great piece back in May on interior vertical gardening that is well worth the read and boasts some incredible photos.

Check back soon for the next installment in my quest to inspire vertical gardening here in the Lowcountry.