Creating a wildlife-friendly roof garden

by Nick Mann
8th November 2012

Apart from the practical advantages of a green roof and complementary landscaping plan, I think the biggest thrill for me is creating an ecosystem from scratch.

Because I’m using native British wildflowers that will create subtly different micro habitats, we will have a lovely menagerie over our heads. We will have butterflies, whose caterpillars eat native plants, and hoverflies and bees, too, feeding from nectar-rich plants like knapweed, birdsfoot trefoil, and scabious.

We’re starting with only 23 plant species, but as it develops we hope to have hundreds of animal species up there, too. It will look gorgeous, although it will take time to really get going, so I’ll sow some things like poppy and cornflower too, which will give us wow factor in year one.

The house design lets us see the roof top from the office above and the landing outside our bedroom. There’s also a skylight in the kitchen, through which we should be able to see things buzzing on lazy summer afternoons.

I planted all the plugs myself, which did my back in, but once recovered I planted some trees in the field, too, including the intriguing and rare Devon Sorb.

Other rarities include a native Black Poplar, next to what will be a pond, and I’ve popped in some plums and a greengage, too. I’ve also started a hawthorn feature, which will divide the “agricultural” area from the garden, starting as trees and ending up next to the house as a tightly clipped hedge.

Unfortunately that’s pretty much the end of planting until we finish the large scale earth moving in a couple of months’ time. Given how saturated the ground is perhaps it’s just as well, although I do find it very therapeutic.

Leave a Reply

You may be interested in

Our sponsors