If it is the fate of the world to keep making people and to shove them into smaller and taller living spaces, then we have to make use of every millimetre of roof and wall to grow green things and make an aerial world, to make up for the terrestrial one that we have so comprehensively scabbed over.
I have written before about green walls and they are becoming more popular, but they are difficult to water and maintain. In Ikea; that shop front of the tiny urban world; so many have to inhabit, the cafe has a huge striking green wall and all the plants are made of plastic.
Most people find even a pocket garden too much work and choose to cover the soil in concrete or decking or even an old bike. When life is a race for time and enough money to keep the wolf from the door, then gardening is a luxury few have the space or energy to indulge in. That is why I love green roofs.
If the builder has put the right surface on the roof and it collects some moisture, then a carpet of drought tolerant, shallow rooted plants can flourish with no need of “gardening” at all. Such low input surfaces are never going to support trees or bushes, but they are green, do make oxygen, do clean the air and make a home for tiny creatures and the occasional foraging bird. We are surrounds by surfaces that could be green. Such roofs on office blocks, schools, bike sheds and shops are just crying out for a little cool green life.
The photo is of a bike shed roof, where even in winter a little line of seed heads adds life and beauty to the concrete apartments beyond. We need to make the best of what we’ve got!