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!
Emily Yates, seed bank coordinator, talks about the work she does to save native prairie seeds for the future. We took a tour of the lab and learned that the vital seed bank currently shares lab space with many other conservation projects. Then we saw the new seed bank lab still under construction in the Plant Science Center, which opens to the public on September 23, 2009. The seed bank is just one of eight labs in the Plant Science Center. We will see them all in this video blog series, as well as hear about the building’s sustainable features.
Emily Shelton, who is the horticulturist for the Green Roof Garden, talks about the installation process of the green roof garden beds. Crews are still preparing the planting beds, but will be planting next week! Here we learn about the different layers of materials used to build the beds.