living roof

gardenbutt(rocky mt 4-5)May 24, 2005

I am designing a living roof and have several types of sedums and sempeveriums going in ,, I am also looking for other suggestions for possible very shallow rooting ground covers that may survive in as littl as 3 inches of soil,,, any suggestions would be welcome,,,

the conditions they need to handle,, soil type is yet to be determined, that I will be mixing according to plant choices,, sunlight, is mostly eastern exposure approxmently 8 hours or so a day followed by dappled light no western sun in the evenings,, as the house is buried into a hillside,,, watering is also open, a drip irragation can be set up if needed,,

thank you for your suggestions


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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Hi GB,

Since you seem to be leaning toward xeric groundcover type things--and I agree they'll be the easiest to take care of--here are a few more possibilities.

Delosperma nubigenum, yellow iceplant, evergreen.

Delosperma basuticum 'Gold Nugget' or the white one--if it has a variety name, I don't know what it is--but it's wonderful and is COMPLETELY covered with shiny white flowers when in bloom. Also evergreen.

I LOVE Anacyclus pyrethrum var. depressus, Mt. Atlas daisy. The small white daisies are open only when the sun is shining on them, but they have a red reverse, so when it gets shady and they close up, you see the red backsides of the petals.

Achillea ageratifolia, Greek yarrow, about 4" high, white flowers, and also evergreen.

Tanacetum densum amani, Partridge feather. It gets a little taller at about 10", but the leaves really do look amazingly like small gray feathers, and it's evergreen too. It gets yellow flowers, but is mostly grown for the foliage.

Veronica liwanensis, Turkish veronica, 2", lavender flowers, and evergreen.

And then of course there's always the creeping thyme's. Woolly thyme, Thymus praecox 'Pseudolanuginosis' is the most drought tolerant, but there's lots of other ones that would also work, and they're all evergreen too. My favorite is Red Mother of Thyme, T.p. 'Coccineus'.

These are all hardy to at least zone 4. I'd mix a pretty good amount of moist Canadian peat or some other really high quality organic matter into your soil mixture to help hold moisture so you don't need to water too often, and all the things above are xeric, so after they've been in for a few months, they should be able to handle your conditions fairly well.

Have fun picking, and post a picture next year,

    Bookmark   May 24, 2005 at 8:39PM
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:) someone just did an article on the living roofs, and I'm thinking of converting my kitchen and front porch roofs when they come due for renovating :)

it was either Garden Design, or This Old House (maybe check the web sites?) they had a TON of links for informaiton on plants and water barriers and growing medium.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2005 at 12:50PM
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gardenbutt(rocky mt 4-5)

Thank you skybird,
you have some good suggestions,, I know the Delosperma were a consideration,,unfortantly from previous experience they seem to suffer alot of die off problems from year to year,I have thought about mixing it in however with the sedums on the chance it would mix in and not leave the bald spots,
creeping thyme was one of my first considerations, I love the color and flower variations,, however it too seems to be a bit moody here,,I have used it in designs before,,, on warm years dry years it seems to thrive but throw in a wet cooler year and I seemed to loose foot sized areas here and there,
Anacyclus pyrethrum var. depressus,Tanacetum densum amani, are both going in in places that get a bit more sunshine and heat along with Anthemis cretica another that is nice on a small scale,,
the Achellea family is not a real favorite ,
the veronica I enjoy but was a bit concerned with after the flowering maintenance,, this helped rule out some others as well since all deadheading trimming etc must be done by hand, and I am looking at about a 2000 sq foot area,,
the soil mix so far is looking like a mix of layers, starting with perlite, the soil mix which will contain contain both a mix of peat, perlite, sand, and compost,, depending on the ph needs of the chosen plantings,, these will be mulched in with straw to pad and break down and a bark to blend into the hillside,,
cool thanks for the suggestions they are very helpful,, always looking for more

    Bookmark   May 26, 2005 at 1:57AM
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gardenbutt(rocky mt 4-5)

China cat,
thank you will do some searches as always looking for more info,, I am looking at the lightest possible for the roof, since we get a bit of a snowload here, I am up towards Glacier park,, there are some spectacualr planted roofs online that run several feet of soil and include trees shrubs and all kinds of fun stuff,,
for me we have what will look like an old ruins building,, covered with alot of vines which are being grown in containers that are inset into old trees and hidden in some dry stack rock,, a little note also there will be a water fall off the roof falling about 15 feet down into a two layer pond that turns into a stream and runs down the hillside only to recirculate,,, no lawn anywhere,,
we have built the roof custom for these features so all the epdm is in place,,
its a fun project,, hope you enjoy yours

    Bookmark   May 26, 2005 at 2:04AM
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