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Sustainable Living Festival

We've just wrapped up three days of exhibiting at the Sustainable Living Festival in  Melbourne's Federation Square.

It's been a great opportunity to showcase the Orto brand to an environmentally aware audience as well the thousands of people just passing by on the way to the MCG.

Crowd at Birrung Mar

We had the self watering planter boxes with wicking beds on display, and launched our new vertical garden systems.

Orto planters and vertical gardens

People responded really well to the planters being on castors. It seems like everyone has been waiting for that option to follow the sun from summer to winter and maximise the growth of their herbs and vegies. Most people had heard of wicking beds but never seen one up close, so we had lots of explaining how water wicks up to deliver the optimum amount of moisture to the root system from below.

After months of feedback from customers wanting to grow food at home but without the space to do so, we wanted to look at vertical garden systems. We've had great support from the team at G-store and decided to offer solutions using their Atlantis products. Helen was with us on day one making sure we answered enquiries correctly while subtly helping me improve my instagram skills. We had a vertical garden full of edibles that drew close inspection from young apartment dwellers and old school nana's eyeing off the fresh parsley. 

Vertical garden falloff edibles

The vertical gardens are fixed in place so plant selection is critical. Luckily we had the horticultural expertise of Chris from Plantmark to fall back on when trying to select the right plants for the specific location. Plantmark have over six thousand plants to choose from so we are pretty sure we can always find the right one and importantly offer it to customers at trade prices.

On  Saturday the family came in and helped out which was great and then on Sunday I was really lucky to have my friend Kiel look after the stand for a couple of hours while I checked out the rest of the festival. Neighbours commented on the sudden spike in interest and general improvement on the stand while I was gone.

The highlights of the festival for me were:

1. The tomatoes growing in straw bales from Bale Grow, it just seemed such a simple easy way to grow good quality food.

Growing tomatoes in straw bales

2. Circular wall garden display by Ecoliv. These guys do sustainable modular and prefab homes which judging by their wall garden display, must be absolutely beautiful.,

Round vertical garden

3. Hemp building bricks. I just want to sleep in a house built of hemp.

Hemp building bricks

 4. Ben Hutchinson Landscapes. Love native plants especially the way Ben uses them in garden designs. Photo below when Ben visited us to compare notes on Vertical Gardens.

Ben Hutchinson and Helen

Finally on Sunday night it came time time to pack up and go home. As with the whole way through the festival, the slf organisation was efficient and friendly and everything went smoothly. 


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