Giveaway Winner Announcement – Shawna Coronado’s book Grow a Living Wall!

Drum roll please….

The winner of a copy of Shawna Coronado‘s new book Grow a Living Wall is Boomdee!  Congratulations!  Boomdee, please let me know your mailing address (you can e-mail me directly using the form on my ‘Contact’ page) and I will get the book out to you this week!  I hope you enjoy it!

Thank you to everyone for participating in the giveaway – it was so great to read all of your comments and ideas for living walls.  (And thank you once again to the publishers – Cool Springs Press/Quarto Publishing Group USA, Quayside Publishing Group – for the books!).

Have a wonderful week!


A tropical-themed living wall in Calgary’s Devonian Gardens

Book Review and Giveaway – Shawna Coronado’s Grow a Living Wall!


Shawna Coronado – Grow a Living Wall (2015, Cool Springs Press/Quarto Publishing Group USA, Quayside Publishing Group)

According to the book’s subtitle, Shawna Coronado’s Grow a Living Wall focuses on “vertical gardens with purpose” – and, boy, does it ever, with imaginative style and flair.  Featuring twenty themed designs, including walls for bees and other pollinators, veggies and herbs, and aromatherapy, I was instantly taken with the sumptuous photography and the creativity of the ideas.  There is a vertical garden here for every size and space:  fabric pocket gardens, mini gardens for instant curb appeal, and moss and fern arrangements for shady spots.  There are gardens made from old pallets and sparkling glass mason jars – and my personal favourite, a repurposed bookcase mounted on a fence (I do work at a library, after all!).  🙂 You’ll find a therapeutic herb garden, a mixologist’s dream garden, one with houseplants for the indoor office, and several plans ideal for the patio or deck or a glamourous outdoor room.  Coronado does a fantastic job of offering clear, easy to follow, step-by-step building instructions, recipes for plant selection and complete care and maintenance tips.  If you have a small space or just want to grow “up,” you’ll love the designs and ideas in Grow a Living Wall.

(The publisher generously provided copies of Grow a Living Wall for me to review, but I was not compensated for my opinion).

I have one extra copy of Shawna Coronado’s Grow a Living Wall to give away!  If you’re interested, please leave me a comment below – you can tell me what type of living wall you’d like to create (or have created!) in your garden, or just drop me a “count me in,” or “yes,” for your chance to win.  Contest closes at midnight, MST, on Friday, May 15, 2015. (And yes, it is open to everyone!).  I will announce the winner on Monday, May 18, 2015. 

Peace and quiet in the Winter Garden.

Although it officially opened in 2010, I hadn’t yet been to the Winter Garden in Calgary’s ultra-modern, 38-storey Jamieson Place, right in the heart of downtown.  Appropriately, the snow was lightly falling and the wind was blowing when my husband and I finally made our outing to the Garden last Friday afternoon.  What a treat for a chilly day!  A quick ride up the escalator from street level takes you adjacent to the Plus 15 walkway system, where the 25,000 square foot garden (the largest indoor garden in Canada) is located.  Minimalist in design, the Winter Garden features massive stands of tall black bamboo and snake plants (Sansevieria trifasciata) framing a beautiful dark infinity pool and pods of black leather couches for seating.   Exterior glass walls border the garden on the north and the east, with a skylight above – and even on such a cloudy, grey day, the light quality was impressive.  And glass – in sculptural form – hangs from the ceiling above the pool:  famed artist Dale Chihuly‘s stunning three-piece installation Winter Garden Chandeliers seems to warmly glow from within.

Dale Chihuly’s Winter Garden Chandeliers were made of over 400 pieces of glass and assembled in the garden itself. 

But the standout feature of the Winter Garden is the biowall that anchors the west side.  An incredible 22 feet high and 100 feet wide over two panels, the wall contains 20,000 plants (over 20 different varieties).  The wall is a hydroponic system, with the plants plugged into a soilless grid.  Fertilizer injections and drip irrigation are governed by a computer.

The Winter Garden biowall

The coolest thing about the wall is that it was designed to artfully represent the foothills and majesty of the Canadian Rockies, which lie to the west of Calgary:  each plant variety was deliberately chosen according to foliage, texture and form  to stand in for the land’s striking topography.   While I admit, I couldn’t quite “see” the geographical influence on the piece, especially up close, it is simply amazing to stand there and gape at all those plants in such a perfect and pleasing arrangement.

The Winter Garden is a definite must-see (at any time of year) if you find yourself in downtown Calgary.  There is a cafe on the main floor as well, so you can buy yourself a tea and take it upstairs to enjoy it in the peace and serenity of the garden.  If I worked in the area I would spend every lunch break there!  🙂

And see more of Dale Chihuly’s art.