Crews have started planting the Green Roof Garden! Emily Shelton, the garden’s horticulturist, shows us around the two 8,000-square-foot gardens and tells us about some of the plants they will be evaluating.
Join us for a behind-the-scenes tour of the Plant Science Center with Bill Brown, the Garden’s vice president of facilities and planning. The building was designed using materials and systems to earn a gold LEED rating for sustainable design from the U.S. Green Building Council. Bill will tell us what that means for the Garden and how he and his team made it happen.
Here at the Chicago Botanic Garden, Dr. Jim Ault has developed and introduced many plants, including a series of coneflowers: Orange, Mango, and Pixie Meadowbrite. Jim works with plants that are native to the Midwest and are adapted to this environment, creating new plants that can enhance a primarily native garden. We talked with him about some of the coneflowers he is looking to introduce in the next few years, and how he goes about the breeding process.
How do you decide what to plant in a green roof bed? What will grow best? What will grow at all? We asked Richard Hawke, the Garden’s plant evaluation manager, about the plants they selected to evaluate in the Green Roof Garden. Talking in the shade of mature trees near the Plant Science Center, where the plants are being stored until they are installed, we learned what grows best in the clay medium of our roof garden, and what experiments we’ll be trying to grow in our first year of plant trials on a roof.
It’s finally going to happen! Check out the many varieties of plants that will soon be planted in the Green Roof Garden. They are patiently waiting in the shade of mature trees near the building until important monitoring equipment arrives. The Green Roof Garden will be a living laboratory outfitted with equipment to monitor moisture levels in the growing media, wind velocity and light levels as well as temperatures in the air, in the various layers of the plantings, and inside the building.
We need this equipment so scientists can monitor the insulation benefits of green roofs as well as plant health, aesthetics, and survivorship of plants in various depths of growing medium. The data we collect will help us recommend plants that are low-maintenance, absorb rainfall (lessening runoff into storm sewers) and keep the building below warm in winter and cool in the summer (lessening energy use), while providing an aesthetic retreat.
Keep posted for the arrival of the equipment and the planting!