Melissa Jolly Garden Design

Melissa Jolly Garden Design
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Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Air Plants

Gill from Just Air Plants dropped off some plants for my Conceptual garden yesterday - air plants are plants that grow in jungle canopies and don't need any soil - literally taking all their nutrients and water through their leaves. At BBC Gardener's World Live last year, where I built my first show garden, Joe Swift commented that my aluminum cold frames reminded him of a Damien Hirst installation.

Not quite up to Damien Hirst's work - but kind of him to make the suggestion!

So when I was considering what to do in my art gallery I happened to read an article in the American 'Garden Design' magazine about Air Plants. This gave me an idea about suspending them inside my cold frame in Hirst style. I googled 'Plants in Formaldehyde' just to see what came up. I did not find any images of plants in Formaldehyde but, instead, articles about the benefits of house plants in detoxifying the atmosphere to get rid of Formaldehyde, which I thought was quite an interesting connection.

I had virtually no knowledge of these strange plants and not a clue on who might be able to supply me with them - I had visions of trying to get them flown in from the US (which some of them did eventually do - when Gill told me they were in the country and awaiting their DEFRA inspection before I could take possesion of them it all sounded very exciting). The first search came up with a specialist company that were showing at Chelsea Flower Show this year and happened to be based 5 minutes from my house - some things are just meant to be. Gill has been a font of knowledge and has really helped me to choose the correct plants. I am also using some of her other Tillandsia in my Rousseau jungle scene.

Here is a Tillandsia 'Jackie Loinaz' suspended from our living room ceiling - the kids think it looks pretty cool!

Air Plants on the kitchen window sill

Work on site is going well - although it was another wet day up there today - hopefully tomorrow will be a little dryer as I have the guys in rendering and they have to be done by Friday - nothing like a little pressure!

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