On February 28, with generous support from Joan Holmes, Margaret Ransohoff, Robin Schachat, and the Mather Fund, the Shaker Lake Garden Club hosted Patrick Blanc, a leading expert on Vertical Gardens. He led us through his earliest works as a teenager in Paris, through fifty years leading up to his newest projects in Dubai and Kuala Lumpur. His designs are represented on six continents.
Engaging, entertaining, and informative, Dr. Blanc appears on stage with green hair, a glass of wine, and a strong French accent. His is a very visual presentation, with some green walls scaling 340 feet of concrete and incorporating more than 200 species of flora.
Much of his work is transformative. Unsightly bridges become marvels of greenery. Nondescript architecture becomes glorious and intriguing. Towering empty spaces are brought to life with spiraling green chandeliers. And all this is done without soil, and with minimal maintenance. He walked us through the chemistry, biology and physics of his installations.
When he showed the photograph of his office in Paris, many in the audience gasped in wonder at the raised glass floor perched above a massive aquarium, surrounded by interior green walls and dangling roots. So exotic, and so fitting.
He arrived in Cleveland from Cuba, and departed Cleveland to Cameroon. These were among his many expeditions to explore and collect plant species all over the world.