Friday, February 25, 2011

Biodiversity, Blown Away by the Actual Proliferation of Nature's Own Green Roof Plants

I was really excited to see a new website/blog Seed For GreenRoofs focusing on learning about green roofs from nature.  Be sure to check out their site here  The site includes native plants suitable for green roof use from around the world!

We all understand the importance of encouraging and preserving Biodiversity in our environments.  Medicines, food, wildlife, and much more is dependent on ensuring the continuance of all life on our planet, of which many need native plants for food, nectar and survival.  We all are aware of the benefits planting green roofs with native plants.

And there are so many great plants perfectly adapted for green roofs that nature provides for us to use.

Sometimes we just don't pay attention or look at them.  Sometimes we get caught up in the 'just use the green roof monoculture plants' that are so easy to design with.  Sometimes we are unsure what native plants are best to use on a local green roof!

Yet the plants are all around us, and if we'd just look up we could learn.

I have always believed the best way to learn about native and endemic plants is to drive around the downtown section of your local Urban Core and look up, camera and field guide in hand (just watch where you are walking!)

Green Roof plants from Nature, Native Species

So I am not surprised when I find one or two local plants growing in rocks or the mortar cracks around bricks.  These are plants I'll try on a roof.  If they can survive on top of a church steeple then it follows logic that they may also do well on a green roof.

I am happy to find a new species once in a while.

This week when I went to St. Augustine, Florida for a meeting, I parked and walked along the bay over to the old Spanish Fort, Castillo de San Marcos -  constructed from coquina shell and famous for walls that could swallow cannonballs without incurring damage.

I was pretty much awe struck with what I observed.  There was not only one or two plant species growing out of the vertical rock, there were many!  My heart raced!  A true library of potential green roof knowledge lay before me!

As always I am thankful for the internet and the information available therein. And later that afternoon I was able to come across a plant survey of the Fort's walls that indicated over fifty species of plants have been identified growing in the rock walls!

Not one or two, but over fifty different species growing without soil, added irrigation or fertilizer.

This is exciting.

Thanks to Wendy Zomlefer and David Giannasi from the University of Georgia!  Check out their great PDF here.

More info as I sort through the data and analyze for relevancy to the green roof science!

No comments: