The green roof was one of the best decisions we made when building our new house. I’m a total convert. The practical advantages of having one are well known – great insulation, controls rain water run-off and long life. I have been delighted by the aesthetic delights of it, however.
We went with a wildflower green roof rather than using altogether duller sedum. It’s now a secret world, pretty much. It’s over our ground floor so we can see it from our office on the first floor, although the only way I can watch its minutiae is through my camera or binoculars from here. I can’t get up onto it except by ladder, and only do as a real treat. Most of what we’ve planted has taken, and this mini-jungle is creating its own mini-ecosystem. Solitary bees whizz about and have started nesting in the timber sitting up there which I drilled holes in. Butterflies flutter curiously, while on the ground level I can see beetles and spiders scuttling around. Tiny delights appear through my lens. A plantain in flower or a goldfinch foraging for seed, a poppy bending under the weight of a ladybird or the purple pollen a bumblebee collects from a self seeded phacelia plant. Common plants look weirdly exotic and exciting, like the alien forest of Salad Burnet flowers above.
And unlike creating a traditional meadow on the ground it has been incredibly easy and instant. The substrate is miserly enough that any dock, nettle and thistle brought in by birds all struggle until weeded out. We didn’t plant any grass, but the plants which have arrived behave very nicely.
Who needs a garden?