ISSUE 55  |  Roman Holiday

World’s Biggest Vertical Garden: One More Reason to Visit Italy

January 16, 2013 6:00 PM

BY Michelle Slatalla

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Most tourists snap photos of the Coliseum or the Leaning Tower of Pisa, but let us not overlook what in my opinion is Italy's most important contribution to 21st architecture—the world's biggest vertical garden, with 44,000 plants on 13,600 square feet of wall at a shopping mall near Milan. (Plus, you can shop there.) Let's take a closer look:

Photographs via Tutto Green.

Above: Italian architect Francesco Bollani headed up a creative team including an architecture studio from Montpellier in France to build the world's biggest DIY vertical garden at the Fiordaliso Rozzano shopping center in 2010. It earned the designation of "world's biggest," last year, no surprise to its creator. As Boilani pointed out, "It took us a year to grow the plants in a greenhouse and 90 days to build the facade."

Above: In architect Boilani's DIY vertical garden kit were 200 different kinds of plants including long fiber spanghum moss imported from Chile.

Above: If you want to try a (presumably smaller) DIY vertical garden version at home, interplant layers of evergreen and flowering plants to create year round interest as seasons change.

Above: Among the plants Boilani recommends including in DIY vertical garden kits is the grass Festuca tenuifolia, which forms pillow-y cushions on a wall. In summer, white coreopsis and small pink Delosperma daisiest will create a riot of color.

N.B.: For more, see "Vertical Garden Kit: The Ideal Ivy" and "The Original Vertical Garden: Hotel Raphael in Rome."