The largest greenwall in nyc !

The growing trend of sustainable living walls in notable hotels includes one of BTH’s recent projects- creating one of new york’s largest living walls, atop the newly opened Knickerbocker Hotel in NY’s Times Square. The wall, over 1600 square feet of green space, is a mix of Hedera Helix, Parthenocissus  and other plants, including seasonal color. It is the largest wall of its kind composed of over 500 individually planted modules composed of recycled plastic that are attached to stainless steel hanging rails. This modular system not only allowed for a very controlled and varied plant design, but also enables individual modules to be easily removed as needed for design changes or maintenance. At the same time, to prevent the modules from being removed unintentionally or from shaking loose, an anti-lift arm, also made of recycled plastic, was implemented. The versatility of the rail system was also key for this project, as the green wall needed to be mounted to two different wall types. The planting medium was selected because it is specifically engineered to allow for peak plant performance. The material absorbs five times its weight in water and facilitates even irrigation, while still remaining light-weight (approximately 40 pounds per cubic foot). Because it is continuous throughout the entire wall, root growth is not limited to smaller individual cells, allowing for stronger and healthier plants. There is also no concern for excess material falling out of the wall, as the sponge-like block fits perfectly into the modules. The wall also features a state of the art computer controlled irrigation system. This innovative system can take advantage of unseasonable warm days during the winter months, irrigating the wall automatically on a warm day in the middle of the winter, for example. This 3 sided wall stands at 15 feet tall by approximately 175 feet long and can only truly be appreciated in person while visiting St. Cloud, The Knickerbocker’s rooftop bar and lounge.

Greenwall Installation | Embassy Suites Hillsboro Or

For this Greenwall installation Blondie’s designer and national account developer Daria Snyder selected a trough system that attaches to a grid structure. Because of this wall’s high visibility, its planter trays that hold 6” plant material, can easily be planted or are accessed easily for plant replacement assuring ease of maintenance and seasonal rotations. This system relies on water wicking technology which has long been a successful method for regulating and extending watering cycles in a commercial environment. The walls dimension is 10’ H x 10’ W and incorporates approximately 200 6” plants. The plant palette was custom selected for the site’s location and relies on the contrast of color and texture of the plant material. This project highlights Blondie’s National Account Program and how it is set up to seamlessly function and manage national and international projects. After developing a design program with the client, we build a team of regional specialists and a local plantscaping company is brought onto the project and trained to assist in the installation and on-going maintenance of the project. By staying on as a project consultant, Blondie’s is able to monitor the quality and success of the installation and is a consistent presence in managing the project. With this type of hands on approach Blondie’s is able to offer custom high quality designs for multi-location and international brands.

The Art of Replica Walls

Replica Greenwalls are catching on quickly, boasting all the visual appeal of living walls with a fraction of the maintenance. A gorgeous, inexpensive alternative to vertical plant walls, these systems look every bit as good as their living counterparts, while requiring no irrigation and almost no upkeep. A cross between botanically inspired art and horticultural collage, these replica walls layer color and texture to great effect, eliciting oohs and aahs and sparking interest and curiosity.

The replication of plants and flowers, once referred to as “silks”, has experienced a revolution. Materials and technology have come together to create images of nature and beauty that are being presented in new ways.  Replica green walls are an elegant and outstanding alternative for projects with budgetary constraints or areas with limited accessibility. They outperform live plants in areas with lowlight or in healthcare settings which may have stringent rules concerning living plants (check out our post on plants within the healthcare system). Project managers can be confident with an upfront ‘all in’ price, and the easy install replica plantings offer. Operations and Facility Managers love that the replica walls brighten and beautify their space without costly, time consuming maintenance.

We’ve also applied these walls to specific areas within the architecture that one would like to draw attention to, or highlight, such as a column or crevice. Eva Vessio, Creative Director of Blondie’s Treehouse Inc., has created a number of national and international installations with our Replica Studio. “Difficult areas for live plants to grow well are a wonderful fit for a replica planting. However, I never seek to replace live plantings with replicas by any means. Depending on the location, the wall art can be designed with nature in mind and be very stylized and chic.  These installations also give me a level of artistic freedom that is sometimes out of reach with live material.  It’s ART, replicated in the spirit of horticulture.”

Also important is the substructure that these panels are built on top of. Blondie’s woodshop custom builds lightweight wooden frames to support each design and provide the needed structure for easy and secure installation. While we’ve heard it been said that a Replica Greenwall is hardly a “Greenwall” at all, in truth introducing botanically inspired elements into a space is inspirational and conjures that sense of wonder that only nature can provide. Take them as an artistic gesture that invokes the natural world, beautifying our constructed space with a sense of the wild.

Thanks to Botanical Designs for sharing their awesome image with us!

Plants in the Healthcare System: The Plantscapers Solution

As professional horticulturalists, Blondie’s Treehouse Inc. has worked closely with healthcare professionals to establish industry standards that maximize the benefits of having green plants within the healthcare system while minimizing the potential risks of soil borne pathogens.

Benefits of including plants in the healthcare system:

  • Levels of dust and other air-borne particles can be reduced by as much as 20% by the addition of foliage plants
  • Live indoor plants convert harmful VOC into carbon-based materials that they then use in the photosynthesis process to make their own food. The resulting byproduct is oxygen.
  • Plants are a beneficial and cost-effective addition that softens the look of a harsh, clinical environment.
  • Horticultural Therapy is a time-tested practice of using plants and gardening tasks to support the recovery of patients of all ages. Research shows that therapeutic gardens actually improve clinical outcomes, often helping patients to leave the hospital faster, take less pain medication, and suffer fewer complications.
  • The tranquility of a garden or interior greenscape is beneficial not just to patients, but to their families and the health care workers as well.

Below are the standard procedures for responsibly introducing plant life into the healthcare system:

 

  • Location.
    • Strategically placed plants in less sensitive areas.
    • Look but don’t touch. Plants placed in hard to reach areas or in extra tall planters.
    • Research has shown that a window view helps alleviate patient stress and improve recovery. This means that plants can be placed in visible areas without having to directly share the patients physical environment.
  • Top Dressing
    • Because all of the pathogens of concern are only active and harmful once air born, a top dressing of stone, pebbles, decorative glass, etc. can provide the needed separation between the air and the soil.
  • Green Walls
    • Installation of a strategically placed living wall can prevent people from approaching the wall and touching the plant material.
    • In a modular Green Wall system a landscape fabric can potentially cover the soil as the young plants are inserted into small incisions made into the fabric.
    • Green Walls can be highly visible to all windows that look upon it, maximizing their benefit.
  • Maintenance
    • It is of upmost importance to have a dedicated maintenance program for every new plant installation. It is through consist monitoring that plants maximize their benefits to the environment. Several key points to having a maintenance program are:
      • Consistency in watering. Plants thrive with consist watering. It prevents them from being stressed out and defoliating and attracting gnats and the like.
      • Dusting. Plants must be dusted and cleaned regularly for the health of the plant and maximize the health benefits to the surrounding environment.
      • For mold to form in soil it requires bacteria from a decaying source such as rotting leaves, consistently damp soil, and little or no light. Properly maintained plants such as those that are cared for by an interior landscape professional will not have the opportunity to produce mold.
      • Proactive care. A trained technician will be able to make the necessary adjustments to the treatment of the plants in order to prevent concerns from developing into a problem.

 

Designer Spotlight: Daria Snyder

Recently, Daria Snyder, Blondie’s National Design Consultant has been featured by Autograph Foliages.

Check out the article below or link to it here.

Daria Snyder has been an interior plantscape designer for nearly 30 years.  She develops & manages large national projects for Blondie’s Treehouse, Inc. based in New York. Working with Blondie’s, the sixth largest interiorscape company in the United States, she handles everything from holiday design to interior plantscapes, hotels to shopping venues. Based in Denver CO she is centrally located to service all national accounts.

Daria uses Autograph Foliages in a big way. Recently she was in charge of a project for a major hotel chain with many sites.  Daria says that our succulents provided the perfect elements for her design.  “They are so real both to the eye and to the touch”, she said.  Included was a 12′ by 6′ green wall of succulents, along with other elements like a custom Polyblend® podocarpus. “I love the non-fade part of the Polyblend®,” said Daria, “from shape to size and coloration, the plants were perfect.”

“For another project we created long trough planters in a number of food courts and filled them with succulents top-dressed with Autograph’s green moss. The end result for all of these projects has exceeded our demands and the client was thrilled”, said Daria.  “Autograph is my go-to resource for replica plants as well as holiday material.  I can always count on their customer service, the variety, and the ‘realness’ of their products.  I have so many choices and they custom fabricate whatever else I need.”

“One thing I love is that no matter what the exterior plant material palette is in any part of the country, they have the material available.  So, if I am working in the California area, the Southwest, or Northeast, they have the right artificial/replica plants for the geography.  To do what I do, I usually need huge variety and large quantities.  Autograph fills all my needs. Blondie’s does a lot of huge projects and when we need replica or holiday, Autograph fills all our needs whether it is a few plants or thousands.  It is great to have such an outstanding vendor to always be able to count upon.  Thanks Autograph.”

Daria Snyder
National Design Consultant  |  Blondie’s Treehouse Inc.