Greener Pastures

It’s no secret I’m a country girl through-and-through,

but …

I find myself swooning over images of lush gardens that are softening the harsh concrete edges of cities around the world …

transforming urban landscapes into places where even a country girl might get her fix

… of green.

My virtual tour of global garden-scaping began in Phuket, Thailand, where entire apartment complexes are draped in greenery. Colorful flower boxes overflow from the balconies of airy verandas, and rooftops are meticulously designed to boast a botanical bounty.

Photo courtesy of

Travelling north to Darmstadt, Germany, I found the Waldspirale (or “Forest Spiral”), a residential building complex designed by Austrian architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser. The forested masterpiece houses 105 apartments, a parking garage, kiosk, café, and bar. The inner courtyard contains a playground and a small artificial lake. Many of the wildly random windows boast “tree tenants” growing out of them, and the diagonally sloping roof is planted with a veritable woodland of grasses, shrubs, flowers, and trees.

Photo courtesy of Norbert Nagel (CC-BY-SA-3.0) via Wikimedia Commons

A jaunt over to Avignon, France, led me to Les Halles Market, a cornucopia of French regional produce whose exterior has been beautified by the vertical gardens of creative botanist Patrick Blanc. Blanc spent years examining the way wild plants naturally grow on vertical rock faces and trees, and then he

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