Green roofs


Wildflowers and annuals at London Tube HQ St James Station

Wildflowers and annuals at London Tube HQ St James Station

I recently attended a course for green roof construction at The Gardening Academy at Lamport  Hall. The course was run by green roof gurus Dusty Gedge and John Little who have been designing and constructing green roofs since the mid nineties.

Dusty recently presented WWFs challenge to create a Rooftop Rainforest on Sky TV and is recognised for his work promoting green roofs, instigating policy and co authoring books on good green roof design. John has won awards at Chelsea Flower Show for his work in managing urban green space and is co author of Small Green Roofs.

When I first heard about green roofs back in the 90’s I loved the concept but was underwhelmed by the obsession with planting the obligatory sedum. However, taking part in the course soon made me realised that green roofs have come a long way in the last 15 years and there are now a whole host of fantastic plants that are now used on green roofs.

Mini meadow and log piles on green roof in Lewisham

Mini meadow and log piles on green roof in Lewisham

Green roofs are now becoming gorgeous micro ecosystems in the sky incorporating bee and bug hotels, log piles and mini bog gardens. Gone are the flat expanses of crushed cement and dust with dull sedums hanging on tentatively until turning brown and dying in the midday sun.

Beehive on green roof at The Muse Islington

Beehive on green roof at The Muse Islington

Today green roofs are undulating mini mounds and hilllocks supporting a mosaic of nectar rich plants, flowering herbs, wildflowers and grasses for visiting pollinators. They can also support a variety of solitary bees when bee hotels are installed on a green roof and now some even have their own beehives. What’s also great is Dusty and John have worked out how to create green roofs with minimal maintenance and irrigation is no longer a problem due to some very simple yet effective designs.

So not only do office workers and residents looking onto urban green roofs have something pretty to look at, the real environmental bonus for our urban environment is that green roofs have a lower temperature of between 23-25 degrees compared to non green roofs which are often around 30 degrees in mid summer. Green roofs literally reduce the temperature in urban environments and this alone is of huge significance for the modern world.

If you want to find out more about green roofs, see a selection of established green roofs as part of the course and get hands on experience of building a section of  green roof structure then I can highly recommend a green roof course with Dusty and John. The next one takes place on Saturday 20th July in Essex. For further information visit:  http://reset-development.org/#/green-roofs-20-july/4560515035 …

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4 responses

  1. Like what you’re doing here….great! You might like what we’re doing too…and the picture of my green roof on the Shimmering Fields post. I called it the fried egg garden as I made hillocks and mounds resembling them 🙂

    • Hi Cowgirl, thanks for your comment. The whole green roof movement is pretty exciting it could really transform urban environments if architects and local government really got behind it and made it everyday policy. Unfortunately it’s still a rarity in the UK.

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