By Bejay Browne
A new green ‘living’ wall at the entrance to the market in the centre of Paphos old town has transformed an ugly corner of the complex.
Created by landscaper and garden designer, Thanasis Evripidou, the latest addition to the area includes around 2,244 plants, which are all hardy in nature and will add a splash of colour and greenery for years to come, he said.
The project, which took around one month to complete, is part of a wider public renovation project of the old market, and was included in the plans of the architect responsible, Andreas Vardas of Vardas Architect and Design Studios in Paphos.
Evripidou, a pioneer of the green wall or ‘vertical garden’ in Cyprus, is delighted with the result after eight years of dogged determination to introduce green walls and roofs to Cyprus, which he said initially met with resistance.
After completing studies in horticulture in Greece and Manchester, he came back to Cyprus full of new ideas, but found that Cyprus was ‘behind the times’.
“I began to introduce the idea of living walls and living roof technology to many architects and people here in Cyprus, but they were not willing to take up the idea, so I continued with landscaping and garden design. Andreas was one of the people I spoke to back then.”
Evripidou said that there are a number of benefits to be enjoyed by creating a green wall, aside from the obvious aesthetic one. They provide a green space where there may be no space or soil for a traditional garden, help insulate a wall or roof and aid in cooling and are natural air filters.
The Paphos wall contains seven species of plants in vivid contrasting colours which are set in a diagonal pattern to optimise the visual impact on the public. The plants are set in a metal structure which contains an automatic irrigation system and is computer controlled.
“The plants were specifically selected to be hardy enough for outdoor use and three of them are a flowering species and include; duranta, stipa, wild ornamental asparagus and tradescantia.”
The landscaper imports the ready-to-use green wall panel system from Australia. Much preparation goes into establishing the plants, which are planted three months before the wall is erected.
Green walls come in all shapes and sizes, use a wide variety of plants and the price tags reflect this. Whilst he was reluctant to say how much the Paphos wall cost, prices start from around 350 euros per square metre.
Evripidou’s company Evriplant, is a sub-contractor of Zemco, which are responsible for Paphos’ wider upgrading project. He said that the real reward is not financial, but the admiration and pleasure the wall is bringing to passers-by.
“This is my reward after eight years of trying to get green walls and roofs accepted in Cyprus. It is such a pleasure for me to see this now in Paphos.”
Evripidou was inspired by articles about green roofs helping to keep schools cool, and also by Patrick Blanc, a French botanist, who is well known for his work with green walls.
The structure will remain fenced off until the wider old town project is completed and handed over to Paphos municipality.
“I understand that this will be in December,” he said.
However, this isn’t stopping passers-by from standing in front of the vertical garden to take photos with many sharing them on social media, according to the designer.
“I am proud that the green wall is a landmark for Paphos and that we won’t just be known for the scandals but for a positive thing also, which is bringing something interesting from nature to the town.”