Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

A green wall restores its creator

Ed Tawyea built this green wall himself - it hosts about 200 plants, each placed in a synthetic felt pocket. It's irrigated throughout with water from a small pond and fertlized (mostly) by fish waste in the pond. It was not easy. It took 150 hours, cost about $1,200 and was an exercise in experimentation.

A green wall restores its creator

Ed Tawyea built this green wall himself - it hosts about 200 plants, each placed in a synthetic felt pocket. It's irrigated throughout with water from a small pond and fertlized (mostly) by fish waste in the pond. It was not easy. It took 150 hours, cost about $1,200 and was an exercise in experimentation.

Next year will be simpler, for sure, although Ed's thinking he'll add a ribbon of color - purple, maybe - as contrast to the many shades of green.

The wall is 16 feet long and 7 feet high, covered with sedum, mini-hosta, philodendron, fern, coleus, mondo grass, hakone grass, impatiens (New Guinea), creeping jenny (yes, and it's perfect for this), bromeliad, lantana and ... basil. Basil is very happy on the wall. (Ed is a pesto guy).

Now semi-retired, Ed moved to Society Hill from Mount Airy, in search of an even more urban environment. As we sat in his beautiful, completely transformed garden, horse-drawn carriages clip-clopped by. There were the usual city sirens, motorcycles and buzz saws. The green wall seemed to soften the noise.

Ed says he sometimes sits out there by himself just staring at the wall. Relaxing? You bet.

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
About this blog
Ginny Smith, a Philadelphia native, joined the Inquirer at 1985. After stints as both reporter and editor in the city and suburbs, she’s been happily writing – and learning - about gardening full time since 2006. She’s won two silver medals of achievement from the national Garden Writers Association and in 2011, Bartram’s Garden honored her with its Green Exemplar award for her stories about “the region’s deeply rooted horticultural history, cultural attractions and bountiful gardens.” She plays in her own – mostly - bountiful garden in East Falls. Reach Virginia A. at vsmith@phillynews.com .

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
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