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24 Aug 2020

The latest horticulture display at The Calyx is now open

Lime-yellow, vivid red, marmalade orange, shades of green and bright pink are just some of the lovely colours to be found on the green wall at The Calyx, one of the largest vertical green walls in the southern hemisphere.

Visitors will discover new plants only found in tropical rainforests inside the free new floral display and learn how every flower is a natural machine designed for reproduction and survival. Competing for attention, they brazenly signal to pollinators using colour, shape and scent.

The Calyx, inBLOOM
The design on the vertical green wall was created by Jimmy Turner. 

A world of colour 

Taking the form of an impressionistic living watercolour painting, the brilliant display of flowers and colourful foliage of the green wall stretches over 50 metres in length and upto 6 metres high. On show for the next twelve months, this stunning backdrop will play host to guests looking to escape through daily visits and a rich, varied community programming of art exhibitions, book launches, workshops, tours, music and food-focused events.

The garden bed which visitors see when they first enter the exhibition space is made up of a collection of tropical plants that were once displayed in the Sydney Tropical Centre. The Gardens look for every opportunity to showcase this collection of amazing plants. Several of the species were wild-collected and donated by Marie Selby and Missouri Botanical Gardens in the early to mid-eighties. These plants are endemic to tropical regions around the world, including south-east Asia, south and central America and tropical Africa. 

This week nursery supervisor Randy Sing gives us some insight into the machinations behind the scenes. Randy feels the mood of the space is bright and cheerful and will bring an early spring to our visitors. There’s a bit of yellow, lots of light pink, and lots of dark pinks creating a beautiful environment. 

inBLOOM at the Calyx

Intricate designs

There are just over 21,000 plants in the wall and the floor displays. Senior Horticulturist Kayte Wilkie created the design for the rainforest which includes a small waterfall and pebbled river bed that runs from one end of the bed to the other. It means that visitors can hear the gentle sound of water when they first enter into the space, also giving another dimension to the bed itself.

The Calyx horticultural staff work from 6.30 am to 10.00 am five days a week to maintain the display to a high standard. Most of the work on the green wall is done using a scissor lift, the only way to reach six metres in height. Naturally, the maintenance increases over time as the wall gets older.

inBLOOM The Calyx
New horticulture displays at The Calyx take weeks at a time to install but years to develop.
The most suitable plants for the veritcal green wall are those that can cope with very hot conditions, especially at the top. They need to be able to withstand being continually pruned to maintain the original design and preferably be pest and disease resistant.
Randy Sing, Nursery Supervisor

The vertical garden system

"The reason why this specific style of green wall was chosen for The Calyx is because the GSky system allows Horticulturalists to change a design by simply taking the pots out and putting new ones in. At the time The Calyx was built, the other greenwall systems were made of large panels that plants had to grow into before being installed, this meant you needed two of each panel as a backup," says Randy Sing.

"After the style of the wall was chosen we wanted to see if we could create designs on the wall, so the first step was to buy three portable units to trial which held 117 105mm pots each. They were so easy to work with we realised this system would be perfect. Although The Calyx green wall holds 18,090 pots, it is just the same as the small portable walls just a much larger scale.

We began designing the wall with an Excel spreadsheet that uses a formula to count each individual colour, which becomes part of the design. If we have a light brown vine running through the entire wall, the spreadsheet tells us we need 2398 brown plants, for example, Heuchera ‘Champagne.’"

inBLOOM now open

Explore a world of colour and light with inBLOOM at The Calyx! This new exhibition will allow you to immerse yourself in a spectrum of visible delights surrounded by flowers of every colour and beyond — into a mysterious world.

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