The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

transforming an ugly concrete wall and a sad pieris


The view from one of the kitchen/dining area has been driving me crazy from the day we moved in to the house, a couple of years ago. It’s grey, cold and plain ugly.

I didn’t think painting the concrete blocks would make this one look any prettier for more then a couple of months. Plus, I would probably end up painting every other wall brick around the garden. Why, oh why can I not live in a house with lovely lime stone walls?

One day I came across a picture of a moss graffiti on Pinterest and I thought to myself:I could try that! The wall is in shade most of the day, with direct sunlight only for a couple of hours a day. And there’s already some moss growing on top of the wall. Perfect, I thought! My problem solved! I gathered some moss, chopped it into pulp, mixed with sugar and yoghurt and off I went to paint the wall with this living paint. The key was to keep the wall wet, but having done the painting in mid February, I was not worried. There was plenty of rain every day to keep the moss moist. weeks have gone by and but there was no sign of moss. I got impatient and ‘transplanted’ chunks of moss gathered from other places in the garden onto the wall. But none of them have taken. One windy day I looked through the window to see the whole letter coming off the wall :/ Oh, what a disaster :/ Turns out moss is not that easy to grow! “Grow, damn you”, indeed!

So my new approach is to hang some baskets there and cover the wall (at least partially) with colourful flowers.
I got 3 small baskets and lined them with bio-degradable bin bag, filled with compost and started planting. There were some petunias waiting to be planted in the garden so 2 went into each basket.
Now I need to find a lobelia and something else that cascades down and is happy on a site, which gets sunshine between 10am and 2pm. I think I can sense a trip to the local GCs :)))))) What would you suggest? I was thinking some sort of ivy, nasturtium or diascia ???

wall seen from the kitchen…

still ugly… but hopefully not for long now !

I moved my pieris forrest flame from a very exposed to morning sun place and placed it under the baskets. Hopefully it will be happy there. It is growing in a medium size container and I wish I could plant it in in the garden but the soil is pretty alkaline here.

It was flowering lovely just a couple of weeks ago, new leaves turning a lovely shade of pink. Then I watered it (maybe too much) and we had a few really sunny days. It’s not doing so great now. The new leaves are turning yellow and brown. Older ones are fine, still green and shiny. I’m not too sure what’s going on. Help!!!

A couple of weeks ago:

and now:

More blog posts by jagienka

Previous post: what's growing & what's not

Next post: Playing catch up - part 1



I hope you'll be able to find something to brighten up your wall. I grew Nasturtiums one year, down a shady concrete wall. They were beautiful.

Did you use ericaceous compost for your Pieris ? They need a medium which is more acid than ordinary compost.

Good luck ! :)

27 Apr, 2014


Are you sure that the pink doesn't fade before they turn green? I can't for the life of me remember what mine do and they've yet to put on much new growth.
Those planters look great and will look incredible with some flowers trailing over the edge.

27 Apr, 2014


Hywel, yes, the pieris is in an acidic compost so I don't think it's the pH that is a problem (unless it needs a fresh soil). I learned the hard way that I have an alkaline soil in the garden when two of the Azaleas I bought last year died within few weeks of planting. Now they grow in containers filled with ericaceous compost :)
I think I might have overwatered it even though the pot has a good drainage. The poor plant looks like it did over the wet and cold winter months. But I am not 100% sure, it could be something totally different. Just strange that within a couple of weeks it went from the lovely vibrant colours to the pale yellow and brown.

Scottish, the leaves gradually turn yellow and green but at least the tiny new leaves should be bright pink, and they are brown and curled. Initially I was worried about it getting too much direct sunshine in the morning. But it's been sitting in the same position from the day I bough it last Spring and did not seem to mind it too much last year.

My gut feeling tells me it's over- watered and suffocating. should I let it dry out a bit of re-pot ASAP before the roots get seriously damaged? Or should I stop panicking and just let it be? LOL

27 Apr, 2014


I'd wait a bit to see what happens. It might start to recover in its own time, when the soil dries out a little.

27 Apr, 2014


Right, I'll leave it alone then and hopefully it'll recover. I really like this one and would be sad to see it go. Fingers crossed. And note to self: Less is more!

28 Apr, 2014


You have some nice planters and eventually they will grow and cover some of the wall. What about shelving or fixing troughs along the wall a tiered shelving would look amazing with Heucheras and Tierellas and Heucherellas brightening and trailing ones would help mask the wall. Or you could clad the wall and paint it the same colour as your shed door that would lighten it. I know exactly what you mean though about it being boring to look out on, hope you achieve what you want, sure you will in the long run. :O)

28 Apr, 2014


Oliveoil, troughs sound like a great idea! I will have to check if and where I could buy them (I'm sure that should not be a problem, I do live surrounded by farmland after all). Thanks for that tip! And I love the plants you suggested, they should give the wall a splash of colour!
IF it was my house I would have the whole garden wall rendered in red brick or lime stone. But, since I am renting, everything I do in the garden (and you may ask WHY would I even bother?) has to be low budget and with the landlord's permission. With plants I am not bothered, I can always dig every single one out, move to the next place and sow the beds with fresh grass. But permanent changes to the garden, or huge money investments, are not something I am planing on doing. That being said, I do hope to stay in this house for a good few more years hence the baby steps in trying to make it look more 'me'.
I may give the wall a white wash, but would need some pressure washer to clean the wall of dirt and grime first. Now that I think of it, my neighbour may have a karcher... hmmm... maybe I could trade few of the seedlings for the use of the power washer?

28 Apr, 2014


Go for it Jagienka, you can only ask. :O) your neighbour might just say YES! lol. Hope you get it done and you are happy with your efforts when it is finished. Don't forget to post pictures for us all to see. :O)

28 Apr, 2014


You're right. I don't know why I'm always so shy when it comes to asking people a favour. It may even be a good excuse to get to know my neighbours a little better.

29 Apr, 2014

Add a comment

Recent posts by jagienka

Members who like this blog

  • Gardening with friends since
    17 Jan, 2012

  • Gardening with friends since
    2 Nov, 2009

  • Gardening with friends since
    14 Aug, 2008

  • Gardening with friends since
    22 Oct, 2008