Bringing nature into our cities is an essential component for a sustainable future. Our disconnection from the natural world is constantly overlooked in the urban world. Greening our cities with green walls, green roofs and parks can help bring plants to the people who need them most. It can also help as a nature based solution to tackle the global issue of climate change.  Outdoor living walls can make a big impact to our lives in cities where space is limited and plants are lacking.

During COP26, held November 2021 in Glasgow we worked in partnership with rail operator, London North Eastern Railway (LNER) to install its Azuma Living Wall. This was placed at Edinburgh Waverley station to highlight and support sustainable transport for the future.

The Green Wall was installed for the duration of COP26 and was next to Platform 5, one of the original sites across the city of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. It was wonderful to see visitors both local and from around the world interacting and enjoying the plant experience. The Green Wall consisted of plant box units which were developed by Biotecture, a leader in sustainable living wall systems, and the units were made of recycled materials and fully recyclable. The installation was built by GP Plantscape, a Scottish supplier from Lanarkshire who specialise in cultivating and building plant displays. Over 600 individual plants from six different species were used to create the Azuma Living Wall which was designed to look like an LNER Azuma train. The installation measured 6m wide by 2.5m tall and weighed 1000kg.

Visitors to the installation were able to take home a packet of Scottish wildflower seeds from Arbroath to grow in their own gardens to help support biodiversity in their area.

The Green Wall highlighted the importance of the world’s plants at a key time when delegates were making critical decisions on the world’s future in relation to climate change.

After the 12th November, the Azuma Living Wall was derigged into sections and the plants were donated to local schools in the area to help inspire the next generation about supporting the environment.

Here are the key benefits of installing a Living Green Wall whether that be on a grand scale in your city or in your own back garden.

  • Removes air pollutants
  • Reduces urban temperatures
  • Thermal benefits to buildings – energy saving
  • Improves biodiversity – wildlife
  • Attenuate rain water
  • Reduces noise
  • Increases productivity & creativity
  • Improves sense of well-being

LNER were pleased to have been involved in showcasing the wall to their train travellers, those passing through the station and delegates on their way to Glasgow. 

As horticulturists here at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh we are keen to showcase the benefits of green walls in all kinds of environments for a sustainable future.