Spring 2015 was cooler and much wetter than normal in College Station. This means the time was right for replanting the living wall systems. Several students including Jose, Zane, Nicole, Zhilin, Martha, and Ivan (check out their blogs elsewhere at tamugreenroof.wordpress.com/) worked hard all semester maintaining the food crops and planning for replanting of the living wall systems. Great work everyone! Previous strategies for selecting plants for the living walls included selecting plants that can tolerate heat and drought. Turns out that cold tolerance was a limiting factor as many of the species selected thus far were not effective over the late fall and winter. Most of the plants survived the summer heat, but the freezing temperatures and excessive moisture inside the walls was too much. This time around, we had students select moisture tolerant species and plants that can handle cold temperatures into the teens. Instead of trying to dry out the walls, it proved easier to keep them moist. Like previous plant ordering efforts, we found that some plants were not available in the appropriate size (3.5″ pots) , some would not arrive prior to the end of the semester, and some were too expensive. So at the last end of the semester, I ordered plants from the student list that were available and seemed promising. Our goal was to find Zone 8b plants that match the micro-climate of the living walls, can thrive with moderate levels of moisture, tolerate full sun exposure, are small in stature, evergreen or have winter interest, are immediately available, native to the region or US and/or adaptable. Only a few plants for wall 1 are native to the US. Wall 3 will be installed in a couple weeks and includes more native plants. We also targeted species that have wildlife value (especially pollinators). The first week of May and last week of the semester Wall 1 (ELT Easygreen) was replanted.
ELT Easygreen living wall (Wall 1) at Texas A&M University on the Langford Building
Students from the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning that assisted with installation of the wall