Growing UP! Try Vertical Gardening to Expand Your Space

Having recently purchased an older home in an urban neighborhood, I’m learning all about the value of growing up — not out. With tight space and lots of walls on the house, the detached garage, the fence between properties, it makes sense to grow plants vertically. Fortunately, there are lots of vertical gardening options, both for ornamental and edible gardens.

purple clematis on a trellis

Clematis are a beautiful addition to walls, arbors and trellises. This one grows in the MSHS Garden at the Minnesota State Fair.

Vines, whether perennial, such as clematis or climbing roses, are great ornamentation for large stretches of black wall. (Check out this article on vines from a recent issue of Northern Gardener.) Pole beans are one of my favorite vegetable to grow because they produce a huge crop in a very small space. You can also grow fruits, such as strawberries, in hanging baskets or herbs in containers mounted on a wall.

The key to vertical gardening is matching the plant to the structure on which it will be growing. For some vines, a very sturdy trellis is necessary. Other plants (mandevilla vine comes to mind) can be grown in a container with smaller, decorative structure. Other plants can be grown in hanging baskets, with long streaks of foliage hanging down to add the element of vertical gardening. Whatever the vertical structure, make sure the plant gets adequate water and enough fertilizer to grow well.

plant dangling from manequin wearing a scarf

Here’s a fun structure to add a vertical element!

Vertical Gardening Class

MSHS is offering a class in vertical gardening Monday, June 4, at the Lakewood Cemetery Garden Mausoleum space, taught by floral designer Jenn Hovland. In the class Jenn will cover inspiring and creative ways to make easy to assemble vertical garden structures and how to make the most of your space. She will also discuss which vegetables, herbs and flowers do well in small gardens and how to care for the plants.

And, you’ll get a chance to create a small hanging herb garden to get your vertical garden started.

What’s your favorite way to add vertical structure to your garden?

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