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Pelargonium wall

Maggie Barry is inspired by the courtyards of Cordoba, Spain, and creates a vertical garden with pelargoniums.

Watering the pelargonuim wallLast month I looked at the gardens of Morocco and Spain. Such a hardship, I know! But it's great to see what others are doing because you come back with all sorts of ideas.

I saw the courtyards of Cordoba and the way they clothed their walls with pelargoniums, and I thought, 'I want one.' So that's what we've created here.

With pelargoniums now, you are spoilt for choice. It's not just the red and pink and whites; there's any number now.

PelargoniumLook at this colour range, for example. We've got mauves and deep, dark colours. There's Black Passion from Israel. It was in quarantine last year, but has now been released in NZ.

The colour range is excellent, and the size of plants is also extraordinary.

They may be quite small when you buy them in the shops and you might be tempted to put a couple in your pot. Don't, because they grow quite big in just a couple of months.

Australian MysteryThese pelargoniums are quite compact, free-flowering and disease resistant. They tolerate dry conditions, which, let's face it, is what you need with pots on walls like here.

As well as the new ones, there's the good old Regal pelargoniums as well. Lovely range of colours again. As they get bigger, you can take cuttings off them.

Don't forget to deadhead, because that keeps the appearance of them neat and keeps the bush compact.

Leyland's LatchA big challenge when hanging things on a wall is to hang them up properly. You could do the Kiwi number eight wire and nail it up — or nail your can straight to the wall — or use a NZ-made invention called Leyland's Latches. They're very simple, very ingenious, and they hold a very heavy weight. These pots are heavy, and with watering they get even heavier.

With the latches, you have to use a pot with a lip. You slide it up and under like so, and it's not going anywhere in a hurry.

Watering - hose attached to hoeWatering isn't too complicated, but you must be thorough. You can buy special devices for this. Every couple of days you squirt away and ensure it's properly saturated.

These devices are handy because you don't get water on the leaves, so you reduce the chance of fungal disease. Pelargonium leaves are on the hairy side and hold water, and that can harbour disease.

Or do what they do in Cordoba. The cheap-and-cheery approach — get your hose and tape it to the hoe so you can reach up high so that your top plants don't dry out and die.

There you have it — horizontal gardening a la the Cordoba courtyard. It's a beautiful thing and a good way to use small spaces.

Reproduced with permission from NZOOM Home and Garden content,
from the previous website of  TVNZ News

The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH
 
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Last updated: September 25, 2004