A few years ago, Tournesol Siteworks had the opportunity to work on a unique, one-of-a-kind project in the land “where dreams come true” – Disneyland! We recently revisited the living wall installation at the Starbucks location in the Downtown Disney District at Disneyland Resort. After two years, with loving care and maintenance, the green wall has fully grown in and continues to look amazing.
Architects Orange and LandStudio 360 with David Ling, designer, brought unique elements to this specific Starbucks store. Greg Wallace, the grower from Instant Jungle, initially installed and has now maintained the greenwall over the last two years. We spoke with Greg this week regarding the maintenance. He shared a few of his challenges with this project.
The wall is north facing, so there is some morning sunlight and the temperature gets really hot in this location, despite what they expected. Greg’s initial plant choice was Mondo grass, a small grass that is a drought resistant plant, yet didn’t grow to fill the module well. Mondo grass prefers mostly shady conditions, and the heat caused the grass to brown out. He needs to use drought resistant plants that like the heat, some sun, and shade, and is challenged to find greenery that can coexist in the living wall. Greg replaced the grass with Cenecio, which is more of a succulent with a slightly blue color, under Spider plants.
Another challenge is the location of the wall, as the public can touch the greenwall since it is close to the entrance of the Starbucks with seating in proximity. Being in Downtown Disney children are everywhere and tend to pull at the plants and have actually pulled the modules from their placement in the VGM System. Instant Jungle maintains the wall by replacing the plants that are broken or damaged by the public, and adjusts the modules back into place where they belong.
Greg says that continued maintenance of a greenwall involves being aware of heat issues, having to exchange bottom plants periodically and to vary the wall with plants that can adjust to the weather. Both Disney and Starbucks are adamant about displaying the design so, in turn, Greg works hard to make sure the plants are happy.
“The key to a long-term, flourishing greenwall is the investment in care and maintenance. Treat the greenwall as a living wall, an actually ‘living’ project, needing routine checking on, caring for, and feeding of the plants over time,” shared Greg. “It’s important that whoever is in charge of the plants after any installation, understands the choices and varieties of greenery; the plants need to coexist. Tournesol Siteworks’ VGM Modular Living Wall system is the best solution I could have used on this particular application, and I’ve looked at many other systems for my living wall projects. This was the right product, at the right time, for the right place.”
With the VGM System, root growth isn’t limited by restricting cells or baffles, thus plants grow healthier and stronger. Without maintenance from a grower, the overall health and beauty of the living wall is not sustainable and the greenwall will more than likely wither and die.
Due to a great partnership with Tournesol Siteworks, Greg has had many other client referrals and requests for project in southern California locations, and is currently working on four other living wall installations.
For more information on the initial installation, read here. We are happy to be part of the “magical” atmosphere in the Downtown Disney District with Starbucks and Disney- two companies known for providing their guests with an excellent experience.