Planting as an art form: ecologically-tuned, aesthetically aware. Planting as an essential: creating healthy cities and liveable places
Project Title: Moorgate Crofts Green Roof Date of Completion: July 2005 Planting Design: Nigel Dunnett Building Design: Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council
Project File: Moorgate Crofts Green Roof A view of the roof terrace in June, in the year after planting. Stachys byzantina, Sisyrinchium striatum, and Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) are prominent
Further information on planting lists, specifications, design and planting method can be found here A captioned photoset focusing on the plants of the green roof can be found here
The green roof at Moorgate Crofts Business Centre, Rotherham, was completed in July 2005. The building was designed by the architecture team at Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council (RMBC), and the concept for the green roof was developed by the principal landscape architectect at RBMC, Michaela Griffith. Nigel Dunnett was invited to produce the planting design concept and ideas, and to produce the detailed planting specifications. This is a semi-extensive green roof and was designed to create a ‘sustainable roof garden’ in which the plantings required no irrigation and little maintenance.
The roof terrace is accessible to all occupants of the building (a local authority business start-up unit), and the rooms on the terrace level are used for meetings, both by tenants and also by other groups. The green roof therefore had to look attractive throughout the year. The roof includes 60 species - both native and non-native, and the visual effect is created by the repetition of these species over the entire roof space.
The planting plan for the roof consists of three planting zones. These zones were: a) naturalistic steppe-type perennials and grass mix; b) alpine mix; and c) a low-edge mix. Within these zones, carefully selected perennials were planted ‘randomly’, without a planting plan that identified the exact location of every species. This is a rapid and simple technique for planting naturalistic schemes, and results in a very spontaneous effect. The planting mixes were derived directly from trials of potential green roof plants for semi-extensive roofs that I had undertaken from 2000 onwards. 60 plant species were used, of which 12 were native UK wildflowers. The other species came from dry grassland habitats throughout the world: the planting concept was to create a designed, naturalistic dry meadow effect. The aim of the planting scheme was to create vegetation with a very long flowering season, from spring through to autumn.
Further information on planting lists, specifications, design and planting method can be found here The white flowers of native Sea Campion (Silene unifolia) amongst Chives, and the seed heads of Cowslip (Primula veris) One of the most robust plants has proved to be the Red Hot poker: Kniphofia 'Border Ballet' hybrids. In the spring, the roof is extremely beautiful. Cowslips and Pasque Flowers (Pulsatilla vulgaris) hybrids are abundant, with spring bulbs such as Muscari. Further information on planting lists, specifications, design and planting method can be found here