By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter
This year, I am going to recreate the Hanging Gardens of Babylon for someone I care about and that is my uncle.
He loves to garden but having one lung has put a crimp in his style.
He has always been one of those gardeners that loves soil underneath his nails and feels that the only gardening that counts is one that comes from a bent back.
So, this year, I have decided to create a garden for him. This garden will once again allow him to get soil underneath his fingernails. The bent over back will be replaced through the garden design.
Before I begin my garden design, I always like to know the history behind a garden design and the Gardens of Babylon are no different. This garden’s idea came from the true love that one man had for his wife. This man was King Nebuchadnezzar who married a woman, Amyitis, for political reasons. His new wife was so unhappy with her new home that she began to suffer from depression.
To help his wife, the king decided to create a landscape that resembled her homeland. This new landscape included a mountain and terraces that were covered with plant material. The true Hanging Gardens of Babylon never really consisted of hanging baskets but instead had thing that hung over the sides. The term “hanging” is a mistranslation of a Greek word “kremastos” or Latin “pensilis”, which not only means “hanging” but also “overhanging”, such as over a balcony or terrace.
Now that you understanding the true structure of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, lets move on to my garden design.
To create an urban Hanging Gardens of Babylon for my uncle is going to take a little creative thinking. The first thing I am going to utilize is the upside down planters. These planters can hold a wide variety of different plants that he can grow to improve on his eating habits. Tomatoes and peppers will be planted so that they can grow downward while herbs will be planted in the top. These planters will be placed on a pulley system so that they are easy to water and will not require my uncle to climb or really reach over his head.
Next, I am going to use flower pouches to hold strawberries and edible flowers. These will both add color to his environment and a good jolt of vitamin C, which he has drastically needed since his surgery.
Along his deck, we are designing square foot planters that will hang on the railings of his deck. This will allow him to grow several different vegetables and flowers. He was already planning to use one for a salad bowl garden and one for his vegetarian spaghetti garden. Both of these gardens will have enough hanging plant material growing from them that they will put on a very beautiful but functional display.
The last thing we are going to do is to plan the planting for his concrete container gardens he already has. Several ideas have been bounced around but I think we are going to go some peas and beans intertwined with passionflower. Color and functionality at its max in this design and the best thing is that my uncle will once again be able to garden.
So until we blog again, freedom to garden should be a right for all. In the spirit of gardening, I invite you to share with me how you are going to help another person garden this year.