New 'living' wall spruces up Fredericton green space

A popular green space on Fredericton's north side has a splash of colour and a little more life, thanks to a newly renovated retaining wall made of plants.

The new wall is also expected to absorb any water that may rise again if the area floods

This retaining wall is designed to add a splash of colour to Carleton Park in Fredericton. The living wall is staggered with different types of plants. (Gary Moore/CBC)

A major facelift to a retaining wall on Fredericton's north side is sprucing up a popular green space.

The City of Fredericton turned the wall that borders Carleton Park, near the Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge, into a living wall made up of colourful plants.

The new addition is the first of its kind for the city and replaces a lot of overgrown vegetation. According to Mike LaCroix, foreman of horticulture for the city, the new wall also adds more strength to the structure.  

The living wall is lined with more than 2,200 filter fabric bags. Each bag is made up of compost and sand. (Gary Moore/CBC)

"The roots will completely grow together and form one solid mass which, in turn, will make a really strong retaining wall — probably even stronger than concrete."

The layered wall looks like large stairs filled with gravel and bags of plants. 

The wall is lined with more than 2,200 hundred bags of plants, each made from a filter fabric that's used to stop weeds. Every bag is filled with sand and compost, and designed to retain moisture. 

Mike LaCroix, foreman of horticulture for the City of Fredericton, says the living wall will bloom each year. (Gary Moore/CBC)

LaCroix says there are a variety of plants, with blooms beginning each spring and lasting until there's frost in the fall. 

The wall was designed to have big pockets of colour, using plants that are blue, green and some creeping Jenny with hints of lime.  

LaCroix says the wall shouldn't need too much maintenance, but will have to be weeded every now and then.

The new living wall has multiple layers which makes it look like a large staircase made of plants and gravel. (Gary Moore/CBC)

The wall is in an area that was hit by flooding during the spring thaw earlier this year. Lacroix says the new wall will absorb any water that may rise again in a flood.

"If anything it should help, it shouldn't hurt."

LaCroix says he expects the city will use similar designs again in future renovations.

"They're very environmentally friendly. I think you're going to see more of it being used in the future."