a somewhat occasional blog

Wow what’s that on the Green Roof?

I am always learning about green roofs and always finding new things. It is now over 13 years since I first got involved in green roofs whilst working in Deptford. The first real roof I had any involvement with was the Laban Dance Centre. This roof was installed in 2000. It is ten years old. And I have been visiting the roof nearly every two weeks since. It is like my personal garden. Though you wouldn’t call this rubble green roof a garden.We have recorded over 90 species of plants on the roof. Most have either been seeded by myself and Dr. Kadas from locally collected seeds¬† or have blown in with the wind. We have also planted a few bulbs. But even now something turns up completely unexpected and I just wonder firstly how it got there and what it is?¬† Cowslips started growing last year and are spreading. I really thought the roof would be too harsh for such a meadow plant. And today as I was passing I nearly though better of paying a visit. It is afterall mid November. The roof would be dormant surely? Just a vernal green and brown. But I did climb the ladder to have a look. And I am glad I did. for there tucked in the far SE corner was a bumch of orange delights.

A summer colour in the late autumn light. I knew I had seen these plants before but certainly not on the Laban roof. What were they? As ever a quick iphone foto and an email and pingingback to me from Gary Grant ( @ecoschemes ) was the answer. First thoughts were Field Marigold but finally we concluded it to be the old English Cottage garden marigold – Pot Marigold (Calendula officinalis).

This sort of accidental encounter brings out the child in me. The excitement and the wonderment of how nature always surprises me, especially when it comes to green roofs.

I remember where I seen them before. Back in November a couple of years ago. John Little and I had had an email from somebody in south Lewisham who had a small green roof on a ‘granny’ flat. the green roofs had been installed in the late seventies!!! Tiny roofs. When we went to visit they were covered in Marigolds.

But how did the Laban marigolds get there? Who knows but they certainly added a Wow to my day.


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