VIRID vertical gardens brings nature indoors

VIRID vertical gardens brings nature indoors

By Katie Johnson

As apartments get taller and living spaces become more compact, city-dwellers are looking for ways to bring a slice of the outdoors into their homes.

For those without a backyard this can take the form of the odd pot plant around the house, but for the past four years VIRID Vertical Gardens on the corner of City Rd and Ferrars St in the Montague Precinct has been offering a more creative solution.

Co-owner and microbiologist Hugh Frith (pictured) said that vertical gardening was a great way to get the benefits of being in nature while at home or work.

“Humans have a connection to plants that goes back centuries, you can feel it when you look at something green and it’s instantly satisfying to the eyes,” Mr Frith said.

“Particularly when you’ve been locked up at home like we have been, people are much more relaxed and enjoy the space more when you look up and there’s green all around.”

Since 2018 the South Melbourne business has been providing unique wall gardens to apartments and commercial spaces all around Melbourne.

VIRID offers plant walls which include succulents, moss, and even “food walls” with vegetables and herbs.

After spending 30 years in horticulture, Mr Frith said he prided himself on the quality of the plants VIRID sold.

“All of the plants are grown by us in offsite greenhouses using natural, organic methods with no harmful chemicals,” Mr Frith said.

“The plants are also able to absorb the benzene, ammonia, formaldehyde and other pollutants emitted by apartment furnishings that are toxic to humans.”

Some of the benefits of having vertical plant walls include decreased stress, more oxygen in the space, better air quality, soundproofing and heat control.

Co-owner John Papalia, who has been building and designing vertical gardens for 15 years, said the heat control was one of the biggest benefits for small apartments.

“As properties become smaller and smaller, it’s a great space saver, looks fantastic, and uses 95 percent less water than a normal garden,” Mr Papalia said.

“It also helps with temperature control in the properties that get hot easily as they absorb reflective heat.”

Having plants in the workplace or home also has a host of emotional benefits.

VIRID landscape architect Rachael Soccio said that vertical gardens had a unique ability to elevate a space and bring joy to those working in it.

“I think it becomes a much better environment for people to live and work in, they’re more relaxed, they’re not as stressed, and green is such a beautiful colour to be around,” Ms Soccio said.

“Plants takes hard spaces and soften them.” •

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