It hasn’t taken long for good old Yankee ingenuity to advance green roof technology to major new levels of ease and affordability. The creators of LiveRoof® have whacked the labor and engineering curve about in half, so homeowners interested in creating green roofs can achieve professional installation with only minor preparation and effort.
What they’ve done is grown the green roof plants in specially designed plastic trays, each tray containing the perfect mixture of green roof soil. Instead of spreading soil out over the green roof area, then seeding it or planting with plugs, the Live Roof system features pre-grown flats that you simply interlock end-to-end and side-to-side. You create a lush, blooming live roof the same day you begin your installation.
The LiveRoof development team includes Ed Snodgrass, author of the definitive book on the subject, Green Roof Plants (Timber Press) and wholesale nuseryman David MacKenzie of Hortech, Inc. The product is being grown by licensed growers from coast to coast, including Bachman’s Nursery in Minnesota.
Here’s a tough-to-kill, tried-and-true blooming shrub that will perform well in your garden year after year.
Dwarf bush honeysuckle features very attractive bronze-green foliage spring and summer and yellow, trumpet-like flowers in midsummer. Fall color is a pretty bronze-red.
Care and Use
A fast grower, shrubs tolerate dry, sandy soils once established. It suckers at a decent pace, making it an excellent shrub for mass plantings. It’s often used for erosion control on banks and hills. It will not do well in rich soils that stay moist in summer.
Plants will mature to 4’ tall and spread to 5’wide. This is a shrub you can cut back to 12” high if you want to keep a thick appearance. Plants prefer full sun but will perform quite well, including decent bloom, in half-day sun. Hardy to USDA Zone 3.
For a listing of growers, designers and installers, visit www.LiveRoof.net.
It was in late August—make that mid-September—make that early October—that just about everywhere I visited I spotted this cheery, perfectly charming plant. So to the list of underused, extremely worthy perennials, let’s add Chelone, an exceedingly easy-to-grow North American native.
Chelone’s primary assets are its glossy, dark green foliage, lovely clusters of softly colored, rounded flowers and the fact that flowering begins in August and can extend through September to early October, that vast period of time when fresh bloom is most needed. The common name of this plant is derived from the fact that the flowers resemble turtle’s heads with their mouths open.
Care and Use
Turtlehead grows best in full sun to partial shade. If you can give it at least four hours of sun, you should be fine. If plants in partial shade get a little leggy or flop, this is a great perennial to pinch down in spring, resulting in stockier plants and better bloom.
Plants prefer humus rich, moist soils, and do a fair job of tolerating clay. They make wonderful bog plants, and their cultural requirements and appearance lend them to poolside placement in water gardens. Plants grow from 24” to 36” tall depending on soil and sunlight, and form a dense mound of attractive, dark green foliage.
C. obliqua (Rose Turtlehead) grows much the same but bears rosy pink to purple flowers.
Plant Spotlight Archive