Archives For Plant Evaluation

The Chicago Botanic Garden’s Plant Evaluation Program seeks to determine, through scientific evaluation, which plants are superior for gardens in the Upper Midwest. Plants are rated on ornamental qualities, cultural adaptability, winter hardiness, and disease and pest resistance.

Green Roof Garden Update

Julie McCaffrey —  October 7, 2010 — 1 Comment

Richard Hawke, plant evaluation manager, gives us an update on the Green Roof Garden one year after the opening of the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Plant Conservation Science Center. The Ellis Goodman Family Foundation Green Roof Garden South features regional and national native plants, many of which are not currently used as rooftop plants; the Josephine P. & John J. Louis Foundation Green Roof Garden North features a mix of plants known as good green roof plants, plus native and exotic plants that have potential for green roof use. Visit our website for more information.

Emily Shelton shows us around the North Green Roof Garden and explains why we think the plants survived the winter so well.

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.

Flats of plants that will soon be planted in the Green Roof GardenIt’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!