Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Growing alpine plants on your shed roof

Dr Jon Leach's garden office (pictured above) is featured in the Shedworking book so I was delighted when I caught up with him recently to see how shedworking was agreeing with him and discovered that he and his partner Liz Hodgson have expanded their shedworld. "I'm still happily shedworking," said Jon, "and the shed has integrated nicely into the back garden. In the front garden we have a green-roofed shed for our bikes! Credit for the roof planting is due to Liz who loves growing alpine plants and the bike shed roof offered the perfect habitat for them!"

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  1. inside wall of the bike shed looks very wet. Planted roof looks good but is it dry inside?

  2. Anonymous6:44 PM

    Hi Stuart,
    The planting partner here:
    You're right, it looks bad. I just went out to check, a bit panicky, and it's as dry as it ever was, so maybe that's just a shadow or immediately after rain. The shed's been there for over 10 years,with a plain roof so all the rain just flowed straight off. It was removed during building work in 2006 and put back with the green roof structure on top, so now the rain goes through that first, then (less of it) runs off down the outside of the walls as before. All still intact. Phew!

    The plants that survive no matter what, if your roof is this shallow and sunny, are sedums and sempervivums and early spring bulbs like crocus, grape hyacinth and tiny irises. Some 'alpines' do find it too dry, so be selective. I still mean to try others, maybe creeping thyme.
    Love the site and the book
    Liz Hodgson ( works in the loft! )

  3. Anonymous8:54 PM

    It looks fab. I'm planning something similar and saw in a garden idea book recently to use pond liner? Have you used or do you recommend anything similar? thanks

  4. Great idea. By the way it's a common misconception that rockery plants like full sun only. There are in fact many species that will thrive in shade as well, despite being in a rockery environment. You can see them as I made a list, if you're interested.