Text and photographs are © by Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos, all rights reserved.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

When is a container not a container?

Two weeks ago I taught a terrace gardening intensive at the NYBG. (I should be grading the final projects right now!)

One student asked, "When is a container not a container?" He was curious about green roofs, and whether he should think of a green roof as a container or as an in-ground garden. An interesting question...I think of them as super large containers: light weight potting mix, limited root space, and an impermeable boundary at the bottom. Not everyone agreed, and that led to an interesting discussion.

Which got me thinking about how creative NYC gardeners can be when confronted by unusual planting opportunities. Someone on W 91st Street (between Amsterdam & Columbus) saw opportunity where most people would find only wasted space.

It made me stop and smile as I rushed from one sweaty job to the next. Thanks, mystery gardener.

P.S. I say these are both containers...what do YOU say?


Georgia said...

The garden at W 91st Street is a container, albeit not designed as such. As for green roofs, interesting question. Off hand I would say "an in-ground garden," but I could be convinced that particular types of green roofs are containers.

Shady Gardener said...

They look like containers to me... they're holding plants! :-)

WiseAcre said...

Those are creative Planters that made me smile too.

As for green roofs, I think of them as containers because they share the same limitations as a planter. They may be larger but they're still a man made container.

Ellen Zachos said...

Thanks Georgia, Shady, and WiseAcre. I think of most green roofs as containers because of the impermeable floor and walls, but there's one I've visited that was so spacious (both in square footage and soil depth) that I MIGHT consider it as an in-ground garden. The green roof of Chicago's City Hall is amazing! Not your usual assembly of succulents and xeriphytic plants, it includes small trees, shrubs, and lots of prairie perennials. Sadly, it's not open to the general public, but if you know someone...

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