Posts Tagged ‘roof garden’

Adding three shrubs to our roof garden

We went to Chelsea Garden Center in Red Hook, Brooklyn this afternoon. Our mission was to pick out two or three small trees. R* wanted the shrubs to give our little roof garden height and definition, plus a sense of seperation.

$170 plus cabs later, we ended up with two Emerald Green Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis ‘Emerald’) grown by East Coast Nurseries and a holly (Ilex meserveae ‘Blue Maid’). We had great help at Chelsea Garden Center. We picked these small trees because they can handle full sun and are somewhat drought tolerant once established. Also, I found a drought tolerant Heuchera called Dolce Blackcurrant at Chelsea and I couldn’t help adding two pots to our order.

I loved this holly, but it was over a hundred bucks. We set our sights on a less posh plant. Since we weren’t sure how these plants would do on our particular roof — even with the assurance of the gardener working with us — we weren’t ready to invest in any one tree.

Earlier this morning, we’d picked up red geraniums, mini white petunias, fiber optic grass and marigolds at the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket.

Roof Gardens of the Rich and Famous

Take a minute to oggle these elegant New York City roof gardens photos. As you start planning your roof garden, you might take some inspiration from these elegant Manhattan roof gardens.

Image: Jwilly via Apartment Therapy

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.

Growing Bulbs in Rooftop Containers

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I’m looking for some advice on growing spring bulbs in rooftop containers. Can you help? We want to play some bulbs this fall and let them sleep up on the roof all winter and then bursting with some early color up there.

Since our pots are 12-16″, there’s not much soil there to insulate bulbs over the winter. We plan on keeping out pots right along a white wall on our roof, which will provide a bit of insulation, but still it will be cold.

And then if the bulbs survive the winter, it can get windy on our roof. It seems like we will need bulbs with sturdy flowers and short stems. Does this mean French tulips, a favorite of mine, are out? Seems like we’ll need hardy, short stemmed flowers.

I’m planning on using the bulbs only once and then discarding them. This is not the most frugal way to garden, we realize, but we don’t have the space to keep the bulbs in our pots and there’s no cool dark place in our apartment to store them.

I really like the varieties of tulips that ColorBlends puts together, though their site seems to be down right now.

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I also remember loving crocuses when I was a young child, so I think these would be fun. I was originally thinking of a pink and white color scheme, but I couldn’t find any short stemmed pink tulips . . . then I started liking these orange Orcas.  They’d be great to cut and bring in the apartment and the color is great with purple crocuses.

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.

Under Construction: Marie’s Manhattan Roof Garden

 

Building a roof garden in New York City

 

Marie from 66 Square Feet is building a new roof garden. Check out her construction photos on her site. What a project!

Image: Marie from 66 Square Feet (thanks for sharing!)