OK
In progress indicator

RBC Blue Water Roof Garden

Royal Bank of Canada partners with Olympic Park designer Nigel Dunnett and The Landscape Agency to present the “RBC Blue Water Roof Garden” at the 2013 RHS Chelsea Flower Show (21 - 25 May 2013).

RBC Blue Water Roof Garden

The garden is in keeping with the goals of RBC Blue Water Project - a wide-ranging, 10-year global commitment to help protect the world’s most precious natural resource: fresh water.

RBC Blue Water Roof Garden

The design of the RBC Blue Water Roof Garden addresses two important issues – the need for effective urban water management, and for more green spaces in built-up areas. The garden is a creative solution that brings trees, meadows and wetlands into the heart of the densest of cities, while promoting water-sensitive design. It is the first example at RHS Chelsea of a full ‘living roof’, which aims to encourage wildlife and habitat biodiversity along with sustainable water management, in an urban rooftop setting.

RBC Blue Water Roof Garden

Nigel Dunnett, Lead Designer on the project, commented: “With limited space available on street-level, urban planners really need to look skywards for the green spaces that will allow people in cities like London to maximise their contact with nature. We have extended the water preservation themes explored in our previous Chelsea gardens, and turned our attention to creating a ‘living roof’ that is able to collect and filter rainwater allowing vegetation to flourish atop sky rise buildings all year round.”

RBC Blue Water Roof Garden

Filled with flower-rich planting, the RBC Blue Water Roof Garden features a central wetland that harvests and circulates rainwater runoff to irrigate the garden. Trees envelop the garden, with a low-tech, low-irrigation living wall of drought-tolerant succulents grown in stacked terracotta units used to separate the space from adjacent rooftops.

RBC Blue Water Roof Garden

The materials and choice of flowers – many of which originate from RBC’s native Canada - have been carefully selected to attract and foster local wildlife, while seating areas flow seamlessly into the varied landform.

RBC Blue Water Roof Garden

A winding boardwalk leads to a dramatic ‘bird hide’ structure clad in habitat panels, from which the biodiverse surroundings can be observed uninterrupted. The rooftop ‘furniture’ of vents, chimneys and air conditioning units become habitat and design features in themselves.

RBC Blue Water Roof Garden

Plant list

Zone 1:
Shade/woodland underplanting. Rich and diverse underplanting, loosely based on the groundmflora of woodlands of Eastern North America.
Aquilegia canadensis
Trillium grandiflora
Mertensia virginica
Phlox divaricatus
Tiarella ‘Spring symphony’
Tiarella wherryi

Zone 2:
Sunny edges/green roof planting. Plants for free-draining soils in sun. A mosaic of bright
colours and grasses.
Allium schoenoprasum
Dianthus carthusianorum
Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’
Festuca amythestina
Geum triflorum
Gypsophila repens ‘Rosea’
Helictotrichon sempervirens
Melica altissima alba
Salvia ‘Maynight’
Sedum rupestre ‘Blue Spruce’
Sedum rupestre ‘Lemon Ball’
Sesleria nitida
• Silene armeria ‘Electra’
Silene uniflora
Stachys byzantina
Verbascum phoenecium ‘Violetta’
Centaurea cyanus
• Chrysanthemum segetum hybrids
• Dimorphoteca aurantiaca
Atriplex hortensis rubra

Zone 3:
Wetland Marginal. A mass of blue Meconopsis with textural and foliage plants.
Deschampsia flexuosa
Dryopteris lepidopoda
Hosta ‘Tom Schmid’
Lychnis flos-cuculi
Lychnis flos-cuculi ‘Alba’
Matteucia struthiopteris
Meconopsis ‘Lingholm’
Osmunda regalis
Primula x bulleysiana
Valeriana officinalis

Zone 4:
Aquatics. Dramatic foliage plants emerging from the water.
Cyperus eragrostis
Equisetum japonicum
Juncus effusus
Phragmites variegatus
• Scirpus cernuus
Thalia dealbata

Trees:
Betula papyrifera
Cornus florida
Cornus florida ‘Cherokee’