Green Roofs are Covering the Chelsea Flower Show

roof monaco photo

Photo: B. Alter

Green roofs are getting a lot of coverage this year at the Chelsea Flower Show and it's great that their popularity is spreading. Seen first at Chelsea and next year on your street...

The roofs can be landscapes in themselves, with different kinds of wild flowers and places for bees and other insects to alight. They absorb rain water too. So let's see how the big and little garden designers handled them. The Prince of Monaco has wall to wall lavender, a lovely colour and a sight to be seen from below or above.

wild gard photo

Photo: B. Alter

The New Wild Garden placed theirs on top of a recycled shipping container being used as an office. It was created by serious specialists from the University of Sheffield. They have a whole department devoted to developing best practices and a Green Roof Code for building.

Here is their recipe:

"To make a fantastically beautiful, flowering meadow on the top of a roof, you need to use very modern, lightweight materials for the growing medium and soil. So we don't use soil at all. We use crushed brick or expanded clay granules, which are like the honeycomb inside Maltesers: they weigh nothing but they soak up water." Mixing these in with small amounts of compost, it is possible to create deep layers of soil or substrate without much weight.

The next stage is to carry out 500 species trials. With its huge area of mini-test sites, Sheffield's Green Roof Centre is moving away from the sedum species that have characterised first-generation green-roof planting. Future green roofs promise to be more varied and lovely than ever.

art roof photo

Photo: B> Alter

We can't all afford the time, money or space to do that, but there are more modest alternatives. This artisanal garden just plunked some baskets and pots on top of a cottage. Makes a good storage place for their garden supplies.

sculpt art photo

Photo: B> Alter

This sculptor grew box plants around the top of his. Combined with the works of art, it looks quite attractive and adds some needed freshness and humour to the booth.

moss roof photo

Photo: B> Alter

This mossy roof is installed by a bespoke company that specialises in solar roofing. They alternate thin strips of panels with moss and put moss around the edges. But one could just do the moss, or sedum, without the panels.

turbine garden photo

Photo: B. Alter

Look carefully and you can see the wild flowers growing on top of this steel case. It is used as an artist's studio. This shows that roof gardens can be grown on any surface.

More on Chelsea Flower Show
Chelsea Flower Show Opens with a Blast (of Wind)
Cold Unseasonable Weather Affects Chelsea Flower Show :
Chelsea Flower Show Features Biodiversity As a Theme
Chelsea Flower Show Features Vegetables

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