Potential green roof plants

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RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

Forgot to mention about our Chapter banquet with Ed Snodgrass:

Each table had a centerpiece that doubled as a doorprize.  We made little 8 x 8 inch houses complete with green roofs, planted with alpines.  Gosh, they were cute. 8)

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

Rick, was it only one winner at each table?

Tim, exciting project! keep us informed how it develops!

Trond Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

1 centerpiece per tabie = 1 winner per table.

But for the last ten years, it has become a voluntary tradition at our banquets that anyone can bring door prizes if they want.  We usually have more gifts than there are attendees!  We've had to streamline that part of the evening (door prize giveaways) because it was taking too long to distribute them!

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

ClifflineGardens
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Title: Guest
Joined: 2013-01-14

For small green roof projects you can make your own media out of 80% Expanded shale clay slate (available as a concrete weight reducer at large concrete distributors) or even lava rock, lighter color the better. You can also use Pumice if you can find it in your region. Add 20% half and half mix of aged compost and pine bark mulch and you've got it. The ESCS tends to go alkaline over time, but that's not hard to fix. That is essentially an entry level green roof media, I know of one distributor that blends his own media for all his projects.

You can use a pond liner as your waterproofing membrane, and many green roofs omit the water retention layer without ill effect, especially if you don't mind irrigating once or twice a month when it's hot. 

What a fun project that would be, I've been fantasizing about greening a shed, and putting some sort of wire on the outside, and training passion vine and cucumber vine onto it, for this cool green structure.

ClifflineGardens dot com

Fort Collins, CO zone 5b

cohan
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Joined: 2011-02-03

I think I got the link somewhere on this forum the other day, but don't see it at a quick glance in this thread, so just in case- do check out the green roof plant selections at hardyplants.com

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

ClifflineGardens
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Joined: 2013-01-14

So HardyPlants.com advocates Achillea, Allium, Aquilegia, Acaena, Sedum, and Dianthus. One of the Alliums they suggest is A. tricoccum, a woodland plant. The Aquilegias, Achilleas, and Dianthus would melt out in an extensive system. They might survive in Semi-intensive. Good source for seeds. Not sure about the Acaena, that's new to me.  I'm trialing Aquilegia caerula, and A. canadensis. I'm hoping they like growing in 6inches of gravelly medium in the hot dry sun. They'll be watered a little, but the ultimate goal is to not water more than once a month. I cheated last summer because of the drought and heat wave. I don't expect much to survive when it's 100 and hasn't rained in 3 months, including me! It's hot up there, and I can't take it for long sometimes. It's fun to garden somewhere that almost no one is allowed to go, no rabbits, no deer, no slugs. There's pigeons, crows, songbirds, lots of killdeer, tons of insects at any floor, mainly grasshoppers, spiders, syrphid flies, wasps, bees, butterflies and moths. The flying insects become very rare on the really tall buildings. Everything else can live happily on the top of skyscrapers, nature is amazing. One book people on here might like, is called 'Life at the Limits', it's about life existing where it would seem unlikely.

Lots of the plants that fail on the green roof will likely end up in my future garden or current outdoor windowsill planters. We had an icestorm in Chicago last night, all my plants had a thick coat of ice.

ClifflineGardens dot com

Fort Collins, CO zone 5b

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

I have encountered some questionable advice in the past, too, on hardyplants.com.

Allium tricoccum, especially, would be a terrible green roof plant!  I think they just listed their entire selection of Alliums, without regard to speciesl  :rolleyes:

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

cohan
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Title: Guest
Joined: 2011-02-03

In my many years living in large cities, I was very seldom on any kind of rooftop! Mind you I only very rarely lived or worked in high rises.. I did have a few seasonal pots outside a second story door on a little patch of roof in a 3 story Victorian house, but that's about it! Interesting to know what birds and bugs make it to the heights!

I wonder if you are familiar with the great (late) Brasilian modernist landscape architect Burle Marx? He's a long time favourite of mine, and I was recently looking at some of his gardens, and noted a number of roof installations (sorry, don't remember which of those shown at the link below included rooves)- usually including water.. these were long before the current interest in green rooves..http://www.mraggett.co.uk/rbm/index.htm

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

Tim Ingram
Title: Member
Joined: 2011-04-27

This gets more and more interesting when you start to think of city buildings as simply being another ecosystem, and it is obvious that plants are a lot more finely tuned to environments than we often give them credit. I have a book by the incredible French plantsman, Patrick Blanc, who creates vertical plantings on buildings. What comes across is how closely he has studied natural ecosystems where plants grow on rocks and in such extreme conditions and he has developed his plantings on such individual study. It seems obvious but it takes a lot of confidence to follow your own nose and work it through. The results are amazing and completely transform the barren appearance of many city landscapes. That combination that Mark mentions between architects and plantspeople is a brilliant one when it's allowed to come off.

Dr. Timothy John Ingram Faversham, Kent, UK I garden in a relatively hot and dry region (for the UK!), with an annual rainfall of around 25", winter lows of -10°C and summer highs of 30°C.  

Novak
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-10-07
GreenRoofer wrote:

I'm trialing Aquilegia caerula, and A. canadensis. I'm hoping they like growing in 6inches of gravelly medium in the hot dry sun.

I'm betting that Aquilegia canadensis will do just fine. In my garden, it thrives in full sun in a limestone barrens: 8" of limestone gravel over hardpan. Admittedly, my plants have the advantage of access to the subsoil, but still... even during droughts they never wilt.

Janet Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, zone 7a Webmaster for the Delaware Valley Chapter (dvcnargs.org)

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