The goal of the 16,000 square-foot-rooftop evaluation garden is to try to broaden the selection of plants that can be grown on green roofs. Richard Hawke, the Garden's Plant Evaluation Manager, and his team selected plants that naturally grow in harsh environments-- low rain fall, shallow soil depth, hot and dry conditions-- for the trial gardens. In the coming years the Chicago Botanic Garden will share results of the evaluations through papers, but will also share information with home gardeners, through the Botanic Garden's blog, of the results.
The Chicago Botanic Garden is currently posting videos to YouTube that contain good information for gardeners who are interested in green roofs.
A tour of the installation of the Green Roof Garden at the new Plant Science Center at the Chicago Botanic Garden. The raised beds and growing media are going in.
In this video they have started planting the raised beds with succulents. In the South Roof, everything there is native, notice the Opuntia, an edible cactus I blogged about. They focused on alpine species and shallow rooted plants because shallowest
area has only 4" of soil, the deepest being 8 inches.
Here Richard Hawke talks about the plants chosen for the green roof and his hopes that the tests conducted will be of use to green roof growers around the world.
The Green Roof Garden opens September 23, 2009. If you're interested I've got more photos and video of the Hope for the Healing Planet exhibit at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show 2009 see the post on my personal garden blog.