The Singer Hill Art Garden is an outdoor space where our patrons can enjoy their food and drink, listen to music, and enjoy exotic greenery while basking in the sun (when it's available!).
The Art Garden now serves as the grounds for the Vertical Garden Institute (whose Director, Philip Yates, also happens to own the Cafe). Shown below is Phil providing a free seminar on vertical gardening. He held his most recent Seminar on Sunday August 7th, 2011. Sign up for our email newsletter to get updates on future seminars.
Singer Hill Cafe began using the Art Garden in July 2009 for cafe seating, and it has
since expanded (and literally "grown") into an extensive patio area,
perfect to enjoy the sunny seasons. Coming in the Fall and Winter of
2011: Tents, possible fire pits, standing electric heater, and lots of
Vertical gardens have been a big part of the Singer Hill Cafe experience for a couple of years now. The owners of the Singer Hill Cafe traveled to Spain in the winter of 2007 and fell in love with the work of Patrick Blanc, the inventor of the vertical garden. Blanc's largest work, at the CaixaForum in Madrid, Spain, pictured below, completely took their breath away.
After a year of mostly fruitless research into this nacent horticultural technology, Yates began experimenting with building outdoor vertical garden panels in the spring of 2009, like these two shown below. It's been trial, error, and continuous self-education for Yate ever since, who has become a Master Gardener in the process.
Later, in the summer of 2009, Yates started building bigger gardens, but still in panel form.
Also in 2009, the "Vertical Garden Institute" started experimenting with using buckets and barrels to create columnular gardens. The first one, made a frame of recycled plastic five gallon pickle buckets, is shown on the right in the picture below.
These earliest panels were installed on the unheated warehouse
portion of our building. Without supplemental heat avalable for the plants' roots, Yates lost all except the most cold-hardy plants on our warehouse walls in the severe cold spell that struck in December
In 2010, we began building much more extensive vertical gardens, including a "long wall" and "tall wall."
Our Tall Wall, shown below shortly after planting in June 2010, is built on a heated wall at the front of the building, which means the plants can receive heat from the building to help lessen the impact of frigid weather.
Our "Long wall", shown here in the summer of 2010, is built on a cinder block wall that used to be part of an old building on the site. This wall is exposed to the sun on both sides and it seems a more congenial habitat for plants than our NE and NW facing warehouse walls. Notice the nice diagonal row of Irish Moss on the right of the picture below.
In the summer of 2010, we built a number of columns. And we began creating "The World's Most Beautiful Trashcan" (TM).
In the summer of 2011, the Cafe greatly expanded its seating in the Art Garden. We also built more (and better, because we've learned some things) vertical gardens.
Below are some of the vertical gardens added to the Art Garden in 2011.
We created long tables built over planted panels hanging between a planted short column and the unplanted building wall. We planted shade loving plants (on the northern side) and sun-loving ones on the southern sides of the table gardens. We also added four new permanent wall panels (two shown here). The vertical garden on the corner of the building was built and planted in early summer 2010. The verical garden on the wall between the two long tables was built late in the summer. We decided to wait to plant the wall in its entirety until the spring of 2012. The plants shown are cuttings from other vertical gardens. If the 2011-12 winter is mild, these might survive and thrive.
We've been creating words with plants starting in 2010. Here's our CAFE signs in the fall of 2011. Why the CAFE CAFE? Because we're twice as good as the average cafe. ;) Our trashcans really did turn out pretty nicely.
In the photo below, taken in the fall of 2011, we see an example of what happens when there's an equipment failure and the wall drys out on a hot day. The diagagonal row of "no plants" used to be a healthy stand of Irish and Scotch Moss. All the Scotch Moss and most of Irish Moss died. Everything else survived, although some plants were hit pretty hard by wilting.
The photos below, taken in the winter of 2012, show two interior vertial gardens planted in March 2011.