Vertical Gardens Through the Seasons


Bursting with color in every season, our vertical gardens are a source of constant beauty and inspiration. These striking garden installations reach skyward with vivid blooms, fall foliage or winter greens, enlivening open walls at our stores and around the office. Below, Field Visual Director Melissa B. looks back at five favorite garden walls from our display teams throughout the years. 

1. Summer at Styer's: This is the current wall garden at the entrance to our Glen Mills store, about a month after it was filled with small, 4" plants. We wanted to play with large, textural groupings, which will create a lot of movement in the fall breeze as the plants get larger. This year's color palette is meant to be bright enough to be spotted as people drive by, and we used fairly sturdy annuals to keep the planting secure. We also started pumpkin and squash seeds in the planters, so we'll have a seasonal show when fall arrives! One of our favorite plants to use in vertical gardens is Verbena bonariensis. Its silhouette on the long stem plays incredibly well and is an unexpected shape in a wall planting. I'm also obsessed with Mexican Feather Grass this year; it has a beautiful, graceful movement and I'm excited to see it take shape as the wall grows.

2. Harvest at Styer's: This is the same garden, but from last year's harvest season. It's amazing how the planting really fills in the space. You can't even see the hayracks! Our hayrack planters work especially well for vertical applications because they hold a lot of dirt, which allows the plants to get really sizeable. We planted this wall with fall in mind, and you can see the season's colors emphasized through the choice of coleus and grasses. You'll also notice how the blooming grasses create energy. Late in the season, they look like fireworks coming off the wall! Finally, we dropped pumpkins into the planting to emphasize the warm tones and add a little harvest fun.

3. Winter at Styer's: It can be a challenge to design a winter wall with visual interest. For this planting, we edited what was left from autumn, leaving behind some foliage and grasses to catch snow and add texture. Next, we layered in some of our favorite stems for the season. Eucalyptus is an amazing winter stem thanks to its varied blue-green shades and lovely movement. It has a nice bulk and looks great in mass. Winterberry was used to add a pop of color, while black spruce tips took shape as tiny "trees," adding whimsy. Our winter walls are generally more spare, so that the season's snow and ice can find a place on the hayracks. We also celebrate the form of the racks themselves in these winter designs, letting them add visual structure at a time when our decorations are the most elaborate.

4. Spring at Styer's: This is an older planting that we did using "woolly pockets" and a theme of greens and corals. Here, it's shown just after planting in spring, so you can see that the plants are still pretty small. We love to layer in trees and shrubs with our vertical gardens, as you can see with the Nishiki willow above the door. They grow in beautifully and add a wild touch to the design.

5. Autumn at the Office: This wall was planted on the exterior of our offices in Philadelphia. It was planted for an autumnal display, and we were loving amaranthus! We wanted to design a wall that emulated a meadow while using fall plants. The amaranthus mingles with seasonal grasses, while sedums provide texture and density. My favorite element here, however, is the oak leaf hydrangea. That striking leaf shape was really important to stand out when using so many other wild, grassy textures. The variance in texture is crucial on a gigantic wall like this one, which is 20' tall! 

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