Posts Tagged ‘our roof garden photos’

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:

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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.

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Best Roof Garden Plants: Miscanthus sinensis Cabaret

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Miscanthus sinensis Cabaret wins the most valuable player award in our Brooklyn roof garden. As first year roof gardeners, we didn’t want to sink a lot of money on trees. We were also worried that trees might be too heavy for the roof or need too much water.So we’re using this grass to play a tree like role.

This large pots of a tall grass anchor the corners of our garden space, similar to what a tree would do. Earlier this season the Miscanthus sinensis Cabaret grass was a gracious background for perennials and some sedum. Now it is anchoring the corner with our petunias and geraniums.

This Miscanthus sinensis Cabaret doesn’t mind being whipped around by the wind and it makes a great sound as it shimmies in the wind. It’s our version of a wind chime. Also, this variegated grass has been most tolerant of roof garden’s extreme weather: the super rainy June and steamy July days haven’t bothered this plant. A few blades get brown and we trim them out in a quick monthly haircut.

We bought this beachy grass at the Liberty Sunset Garden Center after hearing that it wouldn’t need too much water and  it is “great for containers.” It has more than doubled in height since we bought it and is now about five feet tall. It is supposed to “send up coppery pink flower plumes in fall.” Something to look forward to.

We’re planning to overwinter this plant right on the roof. Come spring, we’ll cut off last years growth and fertilize it. We haven’t decided if we’ll try to split it into two 16″ pots or leave it as is. We want to do all we can to make sure this grass is with us again next summer.

More on Miscanthus sinensis Cabaret:
Grasses With Attitude – This Old House

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.

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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.

Butterfly Stops By Our Lantana

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My mom visited us this weekend and got the chance to check out our roof garden. Mom noticed this butterfly enjoying our lantana hanging basket and we snapped a quick picture.

Early this summer, butterflies enjoyed our sedum. Since then, butterflies have become regulars at our roof garden and we’re hoping to plant more next year to attract them. This Butterfly’s Delight collection looks great for bringing on the butterflies.

The lantana has worked well as a hanging basket. It takes a beating from the wind and more than full sun conditions and barely wilts, thought it does require daily watering.

Roof Garden Plant: Daylilies

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We planted a pot of daylilies in our Brooklyn roof garden at the recommendation of the helpful team over at Liberty Sunset Garden Center. In the spring and early summer, the lilies gave us a big punch of green. And the daylily started flowering during the first week in July, just as our Ameria maritima and a few other perennials stopped flowering.It was great to have the daylily bursting into flower for our 4th of July party.

Each flower doesn’t last long (hence the “day” part of the name!), but the plant keeps pushing out more flowers.

The daylily is presenting a few problems too. When it rains, the dead flowers from the daylilly fall off and get stuck to the roof surface. The flowers aren’t as attractive as we were hoping. Did all the June rain do something to the flowers? Or should we experiment with putting it in an even sunnier spot next summer? Or is it just that this particular variety (we can’t find the tag from this plant so we don’t know the exact name of it) doesn’t produce especially beautiful flowers?

By the way, daylilies are also grown in the roof garden on Chicago’s City Hall. And here’s the daylily collection at White Flower Farm. We’re wondering if other rooftop and container gardeners have any daylily advice for us.

How Can We Make This Pole Look Better?

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Our roof garden sits in the center of our roof. Our chairs stare out directly at this rusty exhaust pole. We hung a lantana there and strung up solar lights, but we want to do more. We need your help . . .  what else can we do to make this pipe look better?

We aren’t able to paint the pole or sit pots at the base.  Any solution needs to hang from the pole. This is a windy, full sun spot, so the plants need to be tough.

Do you have some suggestions?

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.