Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Take Things to the Next Level; GARDENS with Carol Klein of TV's Gardeners' World with a Green Roof You Can Create an Unexpected Oasis Where Alpines and Sedums Will Shine and Winged Visitors Will Be Welcome

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Take Things to the Next Level; GARDENS with Carol Klein of TV's Gardeners' World with a Green Roof You Can Create an Unexpected Oasis Where Alpines and Sedums Will Shine and Winged Visitors Will Be Welcome

Article excerpt

ONE of my favourite bits of the garden here at Glebe Cottage is head and shoulders above the rest. That's because it's on the roof of the shed where we pot up and propagate all our plants.

Maybe some people think I'm downright greedy - after all the garden here is quite extensive and we've just taken on six and a half acres of field - so why bother planting on a shed roof? It has to be said that this shed is quite unique. It's a one-off built by my husband Neil on site when we had a nursery next door, before we were forced to leave.

Over the last month of the year's notice we were given, everything had to be dismantled and moved off site, including a hundred sleepers and enough concrete slabs to cover a football pitch, well half of one anyway.

We took down two tunnels, which were stored and may well be used again - with six and a half acres we'll need to propagate lots of plants. But I couldn't bear to be without our shed. So with superhuman effort it was moved.

Six men shifted it.

Azure: | There were plenty of female volunteers too but we were all too short.

It was reassembled with a few changes - you can see through it now into the field beyond - but the biggest difference is the living roof.

This was achieved after much reinforcement, consideration of drainage and unloading loads of soil brought across by our friend Winston. He got as close as he could with his tractor's front loader and I shovelled furiously. Eventually it was Agapanthus planted and in the five years since it has become one of the garden's most important features. We see it mainly in silhouette, never better than when agapanthus are in flower and at certain times of the day you can see their blue flowers, perfectly in tune with an azure summer firmament.

Its stores of pollen and nectar advertise themselves to flying insects and the whole place is humming with activity all day long.

Our green roof is unique - and so is every green roof. They vary enormously. They can be huge projects designed for municipal buildings and schools that use giant mats of sedum, commercially produced and rolled out on to the roof just like fitting a carpet. Or they can be tiny spaces - the roof of a coal shed.

Sedums are the plants most frequently suggested for green roofs and sempervivums are also ideal candidates but there are many plants that could be used for this purpose.

Factors to take into account are depth of soil, situation - how much sun will your roof get if any (you can have a roof garden in dense shade employing ferns using evergreen and herbaceous varieties).

The kind of plants that thrive are used to toughing it out in exposed sites. Alpines are an obvious choice. They are magical plants that, when you grow them, transport you to the awe-inspiring places they are from. …

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