This was one of those gardens that will stay with you for as long as your mind will allow you to remember things. A very exciting garden to have been able to do, but not without its challenges. The first real dilemma was, well…being situated in Maputo, Mozambique.
For those of you that do not know Maputo, it is a bustling city with about 2 million people and probably only 2 traffic lights working, thus the traffic is mind boggling and extremely loud. You have to have everything you need on site; you do not want to ‘quickly’ run out to buy something, as you might be gone for 3 days.
To find decent scaffolding or a cherry picker to reach (what felt like the clouds) or the top of the building, was not going to be easy, and did not happen. We had to rely on old rusty scaffolding that would start swaying into the direction that the wind would be blowing from. I am and will always be terrified of heights – it’s embarrassing I know, but true, and when the old scaffolding started swaying and squeaking, my life flashed before me. Well my life flashed in front of me a lot during that time, fastening plants on the 7th floor!
All the plants had to be brought into Mozambique from South Africa, as there are no real wholesale growers in Mozambique. We used a range of bromeliads, alternathera, hemigraphis, crassula, cryptanthus and acorus varieties that could withstand the extreme afternoon scorching sun and also the gale force winds, as Maputo does tend to be visited by pesky cyclones every now and then.
Maputo has a very tropical climate, warm throughout the year, but not as much rain as you would find in the tropics. When designing vertical gardens I make use of colour mainly through the foilage of plants, as it should represent a tapestry on the side of the building throughout the year -a piece of art. Flowers are a bonus, a very welcome bonus, but a bonus none the less. After my time in Maputo I could see that gardening in Maputo is definitely becoming more and more important in society as every new building going up (and like most of Africa is developing extremely fast) has a garden that just has to be more spectacular than the one next door. It is no longer the yorkies in the handbag, but gardening in Africa, that is now taking off and becoming the new fashion statement.