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Date added: 13 October 2010

Green walls for Swindon 

One of the UK’s largest living walls starts to take shape in town centre
One of the UK's largest living green walls has started to take shape in Swindon town centre.
Created as part of the Public Realm works, the green walls have been in development for the last nine months and will form a key part of the new-look Canal Walk.
They will cover the south side of the bridge that connects the Brunel Plaza with the Brunel Arcade and the north side of the vehicle bridge.
An artists impression of the green wall in Canal Walk
Green walls are living, planted structures that continuously change and evolve as the plants grow and mature within them. This means that large vertical faces on the sides of buildings and other structures become a tapestry of plant communities, providing lush, colourful facades.
As well as spectacular visual appeal the walls also offer sound-absorption and carbon reduction benefits, making them a popular ecological counterpoint to modern construction developments.
Green walls have been installed at the Westfield Shopping Centre at Shepherd’s Bush, west London and are becoming popular additions to offices and private residences.
An example of a green wall
Among the 25 varieties of plants featured are:
- tall plants such as Dryopteris
- medium height Hosta Hallton
- low growing Vinca Minor ACBA
- red and purple flowered Cyrtomium fotunei
- medium height, blue and purple flowered Viola Queen Charlotte
As a result, the form, colour and texture of the plant species, which are arranged in naturalistic swathes and patterns, will provide interest every month of the year.
Violas, for example, flower in early spring, while the hostas flower in early summer, its leaves remaining colourful throughout autumn. The green walls will also benefit from sustainable rainwater harvesting techniques to keep the plants irrigated all year round.
“The green wall is something that is genuinely different and we’re going to have one of the first in the country right in the town centre," commented Cllr Garry Perkins, Swindon Borough Council Deputy Leader 
"There’s a lot of building work going on in the main shopping area at the moment, but things are coming together fast and I have always said that once it’s all finished, people will really like what they see.”
The installation of the green walls is part of the project to rejuvenate the area of Swindon town centre that includes the length of Regent Street from Regent Circus to Jubilee Square and its sidestreets.
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