Last night, watching a Law & Order re-run, I had a sudden epiphany — if Television can be believed, the flat roof of a big-city building is

  1. an immensely unattractive place, dark, with a high probability of rain or snow
  2. almost certain to hold a psychotic serial killer, wild-eyed and poised to drop an adorable child off the edge…

sedum plants But have you noticed, no crime scenes are ever set on a rooftop with a garden?

Ah, but just yesterday morning, I read a newspaper story about the uncounted number of “small-time criminals” who secretly keep honeybees on urban rooftops and in suburban backyards, fearlessly flouting all manner of good-intentioned by-laws meant to discourage the encroachment of Nature into the concrete jungle.

(Apparently, urban areas are a surprisingly good home for honeybees, because of the long season of varied bloom, sources of pollen and nectar, to be found in window boxes, balcony container gardens, bits of waste land, city parks, and of course roof gardens.)

A third rooftop-garden item was my stumbling discovery this morning of G-Sky, a company in British Columbia (Canada) that has come up with a thin and lightweight alternative to the traditional rooftop garden growing system.

Now, gardens may go where no garden has gone before!

An intriguing option is the Green Wall — a vertical version of groundcover plantings.

I have a vague memory of seeing a “living wall” installed in the atrium of an office building somewhere, a few years back, but it had some kind of a waterfall incorporated into it and was, of course, suitable only for an indoor location.

The whole point about G-Sky’s system, as I read it, is the ability to make the most productive green use of limited available space in the urban environment — not just on a horizontal plane, but vertically in spaces where there’s barely room for the width of a human boot.

They use a lot of sedum, which makes sense in these water-conscious times — but also other plants (I see a variety of euonymus there) of different heights and colours and textures, hardy to various growing zones and conditions.


The photo gallery on the G-Sky site shows some rather exciting real-world installations, including walls where different types of plants are used to create complex patterns, even company logos. My favourite application is the green screening wall — living plants instead of ratty old plywood to screen off the sidewalk from a dusty construction site.

Green, healthful, beautiful, CO2-reducing, soothing, and all in all life-enhancing… Maybe there should be some kind of by-law requiring major property developers to include a minimum square footage of green walls and roofs in their projects?

Just a thought.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Mary Emma Allen

    How interesting. Those greenery walls certainly could brighten up many drab areas.

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