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Good Ideas for Los Angeles: Vertical Gardens from a Chinatown Company

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Improving a blighted neighborhood could be as simple as a covering up unsightly walls and rusted fences with a vertical garden. For nearly two months, the Nelson brothers have been selling a new concept in this burgeoning field. Their business, the Woolly Pocket Garden Company, began serendipitously when they were looking for a vertical garden solution to their eco-conscious Chinatown event space, Smog Shoppe. But no product existed to meet their needs cost effectively, so they did it themselves and figured it was a product others might want, too.

The modular based fabric pocket system--meaning you can basically design the garden for whatever sized space you have--is made out of recycled plastic bottles. Whether you're an apartment dweller with a balcony or sun exposed wall, a backyard gardener with a blank facing fence or a community organizer looking to improve the neighborhood's look, vertical gardens are becoming a more and more talked about solution.

Last year at Dwell on Design, panel speakers spoke about vertical gardens but the convention floor proved that the retail market had not fully embraced the idea. This year, two companies, including Woolly Pocket, were seen. As for seeing these more around town, owner Miguel Nelson says his company is working with a few charter schools where the students are growing their own edible vertical gardens. Yum.