July 2021: Dusty Gedge on roof gardens

Dusty Gedge was welcomed to the meeting. Dusty is a professional photographer and green structure and nature conservationist.  He is President of the European Federation of Green Roof and Wall Associations.  He said he was pleased to talk to CABAHS as he was local, Lewisham and Blackheath based, and had done a lot of work in the area. He said he is not a gardener but is involved in plants and soil.

Dusty made the point that green roofs and roof gardens have a local history, firstly showing a photograph of  the 1997-built sustainable green roof  on the now demolished Sainsburys on the Peninsular, followed by  one  of the 2019-built IKEA roof garden. In fact, Greenwich and Lewisham have the second and third most green roofs in London. Nowadays in England, including the City of London, it is planning policy that all tall buildings should have green roofs.

Dusty said that nowadays green roofs are becoming numerous. He showed photographs of a wide variety of them from Europe and the UK. From roofs in parts of Europe where traditionally turf and sedums were used to  modern schemes, including nearer to home  such as the roof garden at the National Theatre.  He said there were 4 types of green roof (intensive, semi-intensive, biodiverse and extensive) and discussed the environment, conditions and maintenance needed for the various types to flourish.

Green roofs and roof gardens are taking soil and plants into the cities.  He referred to ‘plumbing with plants’ using soil and vegetation as they store water, helping to ameliorate floods. They also help in heatwaves and the green space they provide fosters health, wellbeing and social cohesion.

He discussed two projects, the Museum of Home and Design which balances diversity with formal garden design using mediterranean and native plants and then IKEA with its four different sections. He said he would be happy next year to take CABAHS members on a tour of IKEA’s roof garden.

Afterwards, Dusty took questions and was asked by a member (who is also a surveyor) about infrastructure needed to support the roof and prevent leaks. He agreed that is an issue and said there were many structural strategies existing to prevent this happening.  Another asked what would be the effect of wind on tall buildings. Dusty pointed out that the roofs of tall buildings were generally less windy than at ground level due to the funnel effect. He also reassured members that he collects local wildflower seeds in a sustainable way.

Angela


Dusty Gedge is a green infrastructure professional, public speaker, photographer, nature conservationist and social media influencer. He is President of the European Federation of Green Roof and Wall Associations and a recognised international speaker on green roofs, green infrastructure and biodiversity.

Dusty gave several links to useful websites and a podcast, below. He said members are welcome to contact him for advice.

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/audio/2015/nov/14/podcast-green-roof-sow-grow-repeat-gardening

http://www.growingontheedge.net/viewtopic.php?p=103296

https://greenrooftraining.com/shed-green-roof-wa/

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