Hanging gardens untethered to walls, with their artful trailing shapes and allusions to Babylon, might be just the thing.
Hanging plants may make you think of cheesy seventies-era macramé or precious moss-covered cottage garden planters (both of which, I might argue, possess their own charms), but in fact there are lots of interesting modern options for creating hanging gardens, ranging from sleek planters to the (less practical) artfully balled-up clods of dirt and roots. String Gardens (pictured above), created by Amsterdam Redlight Design, are stunning little plots of planted earth that look as if they've been yanked right up out of the ground, defying gravity and exposing their lovely roots. You can order them by contacting the artists, though it seems like a fun DIY experiment as well... has anyone tried something like this? Seems as if they would work best in an outdoor room where drainage onto the floor is not an issue.
Design*Sponge recently featured these metal hanging planters from Urban Nature, a modular system that allows you to create a custom design with multiple sizes. They come in three different matte finishes, and you can hang them from round poles or use them on the tabletop if you're feeling more traditional.
Sky Planters, designed by Patrick Morris, turn plants on their heads to create surprising textures and shapes. Of course eventually your plants will grow towards the light, making for an even wackier look. I love the idea of revealing the beautiful undersides of the plants' leaves, like the spore-covered backs of fern fronds. As an added bonus, these babies are self-watering, so you only have to water once or twice a month.
Similar concept to the Sky Planters... Mudpuppy makes these appealing egg-shaped planters in earthy brown or glossy white. They're specifically designed for air plants, actually... and when it comes to air plants for a hanging garden, anything really goes. You can suspend them on their own from fishing line or nestle them in hanging bowls or glass bubbles. A collection of bubble terrariums (pictured below, from Flora Grubb Gardens) hung at different heights would be a beautiful futuristic garden, perfect for a small space with halfway decent light.
A garden hanging overhead just has a lighter, airier quality than a wall-mounted vertical piece, and some of these options seem more practical for indoors as well. What do you think? Are hanging gardens a plant trend to watch for 2011? (Images: Amsterdam Redlight Design; Design*Sponge; Uncommon Goods; Mudpuppy; Caitlin Atkinson for Flora Grubb Gardens)