Posts Tagged ‘herbs’

Our Roof Garden in Spring

Here’s a look at our garden from this morning: Our first rose is blooming! See it just to the right of the Adirondack chair? As the trees leaf out, they hide a bit of our view.

RP built our potting bench early this spring and tricked it out with some hooks and lights.

Most of the seeds in our veg trug have sprouted. This is our first year trying to grow vegetables from seed. Arugula seems to be the fastest, easiest grower. Last night got cold and some of our seedlings looked bad this morning, but they recovered with a day in the sun.

I reluctantly ripped apart our herb planters today. They were one of the first things we planted on our original roof garden next door. They’d become overrun with clover weeds and mint. They needed to move to a bigger pot where they wouldn’t choke each other out.

Every summer we fight the wind and heat to keep a hanging basket alive. Lantana might not be the best looking plant out there (and a friend of ours says it is a weed), but its a survivor.

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.

Rosemary, Begonia and Pelargonium Window Boxes at Hotel Delmano

There’s a lot to swoon over at Hotel Delmano in Williamsburg, Brooklyn: the cocktails, the yuppie snacks, and the steampunk smashed with speakeasy style of the place. Me? My favorite part was their window boxes.

They serve a drink here called the Granny Polite – white port mixed with fresh lemon and tonic.  Pelargonium and begonias, usually thought of as polite granny plants, are mixed up with mint and thyme for a fresh look. Skinny silvery rosemary leans out of the boxes, kind of like the hipster dudes walking past the sidewalk bar. (I haven’t seen a local Brooklyn source for Perlargonium geraniums; I might order some of these geraniums from Logee’s next year. Read more about scented geraniums on design*sponge.)

These creative plantings do an amazing job of echoing the mood of the bar. I’d like to ask the garden why they also included dalhias in these boxes. They stood out as the one off note to me.

The Melodrama of the Basil and the Roses

We’ve had our first casualty of the season: the basil I planted on April 17 looks dead, see it in the lower center of this photo. I was eager to get roof-grown basil back in my kitchen, but seems like mid-April was just too early for annual herbs.

But then check out our heirloom rosebushes, which I planted for R*’s birthday present last June. I love that both of these special tiny rose slips the winter and one of the plants already shot up  two big buds.

A little death and a whole lot of new life on our roof garden. Tune in next week when we’ll see if that last tiny green sprout on the base of the basil seedling will turn into anything. Or, will I decide to declare the basil dead and start over. Will the oregano’s relentless domination of the pot continue? And just when will that heirloom rose bloom?

Finding Abundance Over Our Heads

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This last cold day of September is feeling like the end of roof garden season to me. So I thought we’d take a look back to where our garden started. This is a photo I took of our roses and herbs that we planted in early in June for R*’s birthday. Back then I worried that these little plants looked ridiculous in those huge pots and I didn’t think they’d survive the summer.

Well, here’s how the same posts looked in the end of August:

herbs_roses_roofgarden_august

I suppose I knew that our plants would grow, but I wasn’t expecting this lushness. While I was busy keeping my expectations low, our plants were tripling in size. Is this a small taste of what parenting is like? Watching something grow and being a part of it — that’s a little tiny miracle with lavender flowers — right up on our roof.

Now for the less ethereal part of this lesson: Herbs love growing on sunny roofs in Brooklyn. Plant lots. They will flourish and flavor your food all summer too.

The growing season is just about shot and we’re a little sad.

Roof Garden Roses: Sale at HeirloomRoses.com

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I gave R* two of Heirloom Roses’s tiny plants for his birthday in June. Here’s a shot of the tiny plants, co-planted with lavender, sage, and thyme — right when we potted them and put them up on the roof.

roses_lavender_rooftop_garden

In this photo from yesterday, you can see that our own root roses and herbs took off. This bush is still flowering and is starting to lean against the lavender just as we hoped. We’d heard that roses are difficult to grow and often get attacked by pests, but we’ve had no problem. Call it beginners luck or credit these great plants.

We wanted to share this update on our roses because HeirloomRoses.com is having a sale. They’re offering over 160 roses for $7.95 each from now until August 2. This is about half off the standard price.

Some things to keep in mind:
Make sure you pick roses that are suitable for your growing conditions.
Keep in mind that these plants will be small when they arrive! Some people seem to be stunned by that.
Consider that the rose needs enough time to establish itself before winter shows up. “If planted in zones 6 and below caution needs to be taken to ensure that they make it through the winter,” Heirloom Roses explains.
Pick up some pointers about the rose sale in this GardenWeb thread.

Our Roof Garden Rose is Blooming

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I gave two heirloom rose bushes to R* for his birthday — Yesterday and Cottage Garden from HeirloomRoses.com. The heirloom roses are small when they arrive. We chose these roses bushes because  “own root” plants don’t get transplant shock and are more able to adjust to the rooftop conditions.

The roses have only been in their containers for a month and one already has a single bloom.

To allow for growth, we planted the tiny rose bushes in 16″ pots and co-planted the roses with herbs.  We picked sea-side varieties that should be adjusted to the windy conditions.

We didn’t plan the color scheme, but the orange-y rose sure looks great with the verigated sage and dark purple basil. As the roses grow, we trim back the herbs.