Jeff built our green roof garden shed a few years back. We’ve experimented with a few different things on the roof. Some fared better than others. The strawberries did well, but I was too afraid to climb up every time I got a craving. (I think that might have been Jeff’s plan all along.)
This year we decided to try a bee / pollinator garden.
I spread a fresh layer of soil and some compost, scattered a mix of bee blend and a drought-tollerant wild-flower blend, covered it with a little more soil, tamped it lightly and gave it a water.
Other than the odd soaking, we haven’t had to do much else.
As you can see above, after only a few weeks, there was significant signs of life.
Now a couple of months in, it is practically exploding. The first blooms to show their faces have been the cheerful California Poppy and always determined Camomile. The plants are a mix of perennials and self-sowing annuals. The roof will continue to bloom with little, if any, effort on my part year after year.
Benefits of a green roof:
Rain water storage
Soil is the best place to store water in the landscape. Green roof gardens divert huge amounts of rain from storm systems, reducing flooding and stress on the system while keeping the fresh water in the ecosystem.
Green roofs can be especially helpful in cities in combatting the heat island effect. Instead of black roofing storing solar energy, you have a lush planting putting that sunshine to use.
Bees can have a tough time in the urban environment. A green roof planted with bee-friendly flowers can go a long way in supporting these important pollinators. Our roof is always busy with bees working away.
We often kept poultry in our shed. Having a nice thick layer of soil, moisture and vegetation on the roof kept it remarkably cool on even the hottest of summer days, without the expense of installing traditional insulation in the ceiling.
In the city we often have very limited space to grow food. Rooftops are an often overlooked spot to grow food. As I mentioned, we had our strawberry green roof one year.
Here in Vancouver we have a number of rooftop food gardens, including the downtown YWCA. I volunteered there one summer and loved being out picking raspberries while across from and above me I could see poor schmucks heads down at their desks. (Aren’t I awful!?)
Here are some other green roofs from around Vancouver.