Patrick Blanc

European Garden Award 2011

Patrick Blanc (born 1953 in Paris) is a botanist and has become well-known for inventing the concept of vertical gardens. Since 1988, he has created dozens of these botanical tapestries in public and private spaces around the world.

Fascinated by plants that flourish without soil and in low light, he went to Malaysia and Thailand to observe how plants managed to grow on rocks or in forest underbrush.

For him a plant wall begins as a two-dimensional surface and as the plants grow it develops volume. It does not, however, need to be trimmed as the density of the planting prevents weeds from sprouting. He pointed out that a wall he designed at the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art in Paris nearly a decade ago has never been pruned. “It’s superb, very natural and very beautiful.”

He says he is planning to concentrate increasingly on improving public spaces with the plant walls in years to come. “Humanity is living more and more in cities, and at odds with nature. The plant wall has a real future for the well-being of people living in cities. The horizontal is finished, it’s for us. But the vertical is still free.”