Monday, April 7, 2008

Question Regarding the HSNY Green Screen

(Ficus pumila, commonly called creeping fig is one of the many plants we have growing here at HSNY. Photo credit: Alex Feleppa)

I found the blog recently - and LOVE the window display I see in the photos of the HSNY office.
I wonder, what is the plant I've circled in the enclosed image? And how was this window system constructed? I feel like vertical space isn't used often enough, and this seems like a great way to do it.

Thanks for writing; that is a great question.

The plant you have circled in the images you sent is Ficus pumila, or creeping fig. As you can see in the photograph creeping fig has small heart-shaped leaves that can cling and climb quite easily on most vertical surfaces. Native to the warmer parts of China and Japan, these small evergreen plants are only hardy in USDA Zones 9-11 and therefore we utilize them best as houseplants. I have found from maintaining the "Green Screen" here at HSNY that these plants do benefit from regular watering and misting, especially through the dryer winter months.

The entire HSNY headquarters here on West 37th Street, including the offices, art exhibition space, library, and Green Screen, was designed by Marpillero Pollak Architects. If you have not been, I highly recommend you stop by HSNY and see our space in person. We are always happy to have visitors and are open Monday through Friday from 10am to 6pm. The installation of the Green Screen components was done by David Melrose, an artist and builder based in Brooklyn. The troughs that the plants are situated in are affixed to the walls via those darker vertical brackets, all made of metal. The troughs do not have drainage holes so we incorporated a layer of gravel beneath the different soil mixes and used predominantly smaller plants and succulents that require less space for their roots. Some plants require more regular watering and misting than others, but by and large the screen has been doing very well since it was originally installed in 2006.

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