December 25, 2012
We've been able to enjoy some really exceptional landscapes with South Gardening. Today we're going to look at a green roof, which is a unique above ground landscape that is actually on a roof. I'm visiting the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Gulfport, where they have 78,000 square feet of green roof, which is also called vegetative roof. Growing plants on a roof is very different than at ground level. The planting media is composed of a material called expanded shale, which is light-weight, and that is important. It is very coarse in texture and only about three inches deep. Environmental conditions can be extreme on a roof, both hot and dry, and plant selection is important. Succulent plants have the ability to thrive in these conditions. Sedums are a very popular and diverse group of plants as they have a variety of colors and textures. The sedums have a creeping growth habit and will intertwine. To add a little height yellow stalked bulbine is interspersed. The yellow flowers are held on long stems that move with the breeze. The benefits of green roofs are many and include improved building energy efficiency, increased roof membrane longevity, and controlling runoff in urban areas. An added benefit is improved health and well-being. These roofs give the residents of the Armed Forces Retirement Home the opportunity to have green space in their urban setting. I'm horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.