Monday, February 11, 2013

Living Wall Update, Whole Foods, Jacksonville

One year ago, during February 2012 we examined in a post dying 'living walls' across the Whole Foods store in Jacksonville, proposing the theory of inadequate soil makeup as the primary reason for the living wall plant's poor performance.
Whole Foods 'living wall', Jacksonville

Briefly examining the site history led us to realize that another concrete block building, including a foundation and concrete floor existed prior to the present building. The site soils were what we would characterize as Urban Soils with abnormally high pH levels.
Whole Foods 'living wall', Jacksonville

Our post recommended removing some of the existing soil and amending the planters with rich organic laden soil.
Urban Soil fill existing planters

The Whole Foods living wall structures are quite expensive, a high-end stainless steel wall system appearing to be a CarlStahl Decorcable design.
Expensive, high-end living wall system

It is a shame these beautiful living wall frames are not covered with brilliant blooming Passiflora, Trumpet Vine, Coral Honeysuckle, Carolina jessamine and other beautiful landscape or native vines.
Instead, today wisteria (a relatively invasive species) is struggling to maintain even a small bit of coverage on the facade of the building. Fertilizers do appear to have been added, providing for a short lived spurt of growth in some areas.

I suspect that a stunning array of flowering vines doing very well on the trellis system would actually increase sales at the store. Paradoxically, the 'puny' vines send a message of 'unhealthyness' across the entire facade of the health foods store.

Our suggestion still stands. Remove as much of the high pH Urban Soils as possible and replace with a higher organic matter content soil. Add soil pH stabilizers. Remove the wisteria and other plants not suited for the site and add those species destined to thrive in the existing planters.

Next year the Whole Foods store could be well on it's way to a vibrant series of living walls, or....... the topic of yet again another post like this one.

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