Four years ago we decided to create a green roof on top of our rammed earth Eco-Shed so we set about researching how to go about it - on a very tight budget. For starters, instead of using a butyl liner, we got hold of some regular builder’s plastic, saving us about a thousand pounds on our 66m2 ’grand piano’ shaped roof and then we then topped it with sub soil from a friend’s kitchen extension. He was going to have to pay to have it taken away, so Michael offered to take it off his hands for nothing!
We processed it using a soil sifter before carrying it up onto the roof in 400 bucket loads, two at a time – all six tons of it (I remember we did this on my birthday – whoopee doo). The resulting depth was three to four inches all over – deeper would have been better but we were conscious of not overdoing it, weight-wise.
Sedum soft cuttings
We’d had a quote to cover it with sedum matting which came to over £3k so we paid a visit to a local garden centre where webought a couple of sedum ‘mother’ plants (Golden Acre and Alba). I lovingly took around 400 soft cuttings that she started off in the greenhouse and as soon as they were big enough transplanted them out into a nursery bed where the plants proceeded to thrive. Six months later they were on the roof and flourishing! Over the months I went on to gather more sedum bits and bobs from various sources – including a neighbour’s gravel driveway… and for a bit of variety and to attract a wider range of wildlife we also planted clover, wild flowers and thyme – all of which took longer to get established and demanded more attention. The thyme soon struggled and died but two years later the clover is doing particularly well and is flowering it’s socks off. I bought the seed on line where it was actually advertised for use as a green manure.
Most recently I have planted over a hundred Lampranthus plants (as with the sedum, grown from soft cuttings taken from one mother plant which was in turn grown from a soft cutting) around the perimeter and these are now in full flower. They can be seen from ground level peeping over the edge, their bright pink daisy type flowers almost sparkling in the sunshine.
Quite a talking point are a couple of old horses skulls up there (each with a neat bullet hole in the top) that we salvaged whilst cleaning out a redundant cess pit in the garden which we now use for rainwater harvesting. Along with some gnarly
decaying logs and a ‘bee hotel’, I have used them to create a ‘skull-pture’ which provides the perfect habitat for all sorts of mini beasts!