Archive for the ‘Summer 2010’ Category

Paring Rooftop Trees with Euphorbia, Heuchera

We added small trees — some might call them shrubs — to our roof garden early this spring. We’ve been experimenting with plants we can grow with our trees without insulting the trees. How do you think we’re doing?

The first photo shows our Emerald Green Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis ‘Emerald’) planted with Diamond Frost Euphorbia. The airy, bright, and always blooming Euphorbia lightens the heavy pot without taking attention away from our tallest tree. I wasn’t sure we’d like the euphorbia — some of our neighbors have it planted euphorbia their tree pits, where it looks scraggly and too diffuse to me.

R*’s close up photo shows a small arborvitae we bought last fall. We paired it with a dark purple drought tolerant Heuchera, named Dolce Blackcurrant.

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How Do You Get A Water Supply Up To A Roof Garden?

Check out this great question:

We’ve been thinking about gardening on the roof for awhile now, but haven’t moved forward – I think because I was thinking “too grand”.  Looking at photos on this site, I see it’s as simple as putting some pots on the roof.  However, aside from carrying cans of water up there, how does one deal with getting a water supply to the roof? I have visions of a garden hose running up the side of the house to the roof.  Is this feasible?

Thanks for any suggestions.

Priscilla

Pricilla,

Thanks for your message. The first consideration for all roof gardens — from a grouping of containers to a grand landscape — is the water.  The water supply will dictate what plants you select and how large a garden you can have.

Last year, we didn’t have a water supply on the roof. That meant R* and I had to carry four watering cans up three flights of stairs nearly every night in the summer, sometimes twice a day. We focused on growing plants that could do without too much water, including drought-resistant grasses, sedum, lantana, and woody Mediterranean herbs like sage and lavender.

This summer, we now have access to a hose on our roof. This easier access to water allows us add some trees and tender vines. We’re still heavy on the drought-tolerant plants. That gives us peace of mind, knowing one hot day won’t destroy our roof garden.

Since you mentioned that you’re looking for options beyond the watering can and the hose, you could try to find an adapter to connect your kitchen sink to a garden hose and then run a hose out your window and up to your roof garden. Seems perilous, but roof gardening often requires some eccentric behavior.

Finally, you’re so right: roof and balcony gardens do not have to be elaborate and expensive to be beautiful and fun! I hope you’ll send some pictures of your garden in process.