What’s blooming this winter?

protea

Take a walk down the street and you’ll notice a few things. While many plants appear to have shut up shop for the winter, there are still a few delightful spots of colour to be found amongst the grey.

Wattle trees

wattle

Winter is the season for wattles. There is something fantastic about the contrast between the wintery sky and the gorgeous golden yellow of a wattle tree, and these hardy natives come in many varieties from tall trees to screening plants, right down to low ground-covering wattles.

Brachyscome multifida (the cut leafed daisy)

brachy

The beautiful cut leafed daisy (sometimes called the rock daisy) is a perennial herb, endemic to Australia. It forms dense mats of colour and is a wonderful ground cover (and excellent option for your green roof). As an added bonus, Brachyscome multifida can be easily propagated using several techniques including cuttings, layering and growing from seed. Flowering from autumn to winter, these plants bring a delightful spot of colour during the grey winter months.

Proteas

protea comapcta

If you’re looking for a low maintenance, colourful winter plant, Proteas are a wonderful and hardy option. Originally from South Africa, these beautiful flowers form part of the larger family of Proteas, which includes Waratahs, Banksias, Hakeas and Grevilleas on the Australian side. There are many Protea varieties available  – some are low growing and others form sizeable screen plants, which are an excellent hedging option. Protea compacta is one example of a beautiful, dense growing plant. It flowers for many months from winter through to spring and provides colour just when the garden really needs it.

Heathland Plants

epacris
Our Heathland plants also love the cold, with the Epacris (our state floral emblem) in full flower over the winter months. They’re tough little plants and can tolerate nutrient poor, sandy soils. With a range of colour from pink, through to red, through to white, all of the Epacris have tiny little tubular flowers that add a spot of colour to any garden.

crowea-saligna

Another beautiful heathland plant to look out for (and one we use on our own green roof) is the Crowea. These plants sport bright pink star shaped flowers, and though these are present across most of the year, they bloom heaviest in winter. Another sensory benefit of the Crowea is the slightly citrus smell to its leaves, which makes it a pleasure to encounter in the garden.

Native plants are a fantastic choice for any gardener. They’re both beautiful and resilient, (often wind and drought tolerant) making them a great contender for the sometimes harsh conditions on our rooftops. So if you’re looking for something new to plant, remember that there’s much to be done, and inspiration to be found, in our own backyard.

From wreck to rover

When John and Shelley found an old trailer for sale, the idea was born; a green roof on wheels. But how to go about it? What system to use? What planting design? Lucky John, our green roof systems expert was up for the challenge.

When John picked it up, it was clear the trailer was in no shape to shine and a makeover was sorely needed before any construction could get done. Over the next few weeks John sanded and painted the trailer…and painted it again.

 sEarly days        Final touches

Next came the branding. We wanted to show case our partnership with the People’s Solar, and more than that, the partnership between green roofs and solar panels themselves.

Branding

Alex Houlston from the People's Solar with John Hassall from Do it on the Roof

Alex Houlston from the People’s Solar with John Hassall from Do it on the Roof

Finally, the rover was ready to be planted.

With its even dimensions of 2.1m x 1.5m, the trailer roof was the perfect size for 12 modules, albeit with a bit of modification. Now, Do it on the Roof are big on waste management, so we were quick to give recycled materials a go. With the help of some practical friends, Jordie and Tony, we cut down some aluminium fly wire doors we had bought at the tip and fixed them to the frame to create a structural base.

john and doors

After a road trip to Kuranga Nursery, the day of planting had come. Our ecologist, Trevor Edwards, had carefully selected a range of flowering native grasses and ground covers, along with some marshy plants (which would favour the lower slope of the modules). Now to create the perfect planting design.

We wanted to show case the beauty and variety of the plants, from the taller grasses to the flowering covers. Trevor suggested we construct a deeper planting bed in the centre of the trailer so as to plant an even greater diversity of plants. This great idea engendered a late night construction effort by John – thanks Trevor!

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At last, armed with gloves and hats, plants lined up and our scoria-based substrate mix ready to shovel, we prepared to do battle.

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Now sporting its flowering native roof and equipped with the solar panel, the sustainability rover was ready to roll. A victory for the whole team (and above all for John).

Team pic        john finished trailer

If you keep an eye out, you may spot the elusive rover at a school near you soon

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Plants & Panels Incursion Program

Equipped with its freshly planted green roof and solar panel, the Sustainability Rover is heading out on the road to teach kids about energy efficiency and sustainable design.

Our Rover delivers Plants & Panels school incursions.

Plants & Panels program coordinator, Pip Hildebrand

Plants & Panels program coordinator, Pip Hildebrand

Over the past few months, our program manager, Pip Hildebrand, has been putting together a range of hands-on activities where students can get creative and learn about how to apply maths and science in real life. Our interactive program is based on the Harvard Visible Thinking Tools and E5 instructional model. We use them because they help us bring maths and science alive for students in an exciting way.

We are excited to share our passion for energy efficiency and green infrastructure with the Melbourne community, and bring the Sustainability Rover to schools around the city. If you’re looking for a new education experience based on cutting edge technology you can book the Plants & Panels experience using Supersaas or visit the Teaching & Training page on our website at www.doitontheroof.com.

DIY green roof workshop

       cAROL diy

Got a lonely garden shed that wants a better hair do? Ever dreamed of having your very own green roof? This April, Do it on the Roof are offering a DIY workshop for anyone who wants first hand practical experience in installing green roofs.

Anton Englemayer is an award winning builder experienced in green infrastructure construction who has created multiple green roofs on his home. Trevor Edwards is a renowned ecologist with over 30 years experience in the field. John Hassall specialises in green roof systems and waste reduction.

If you’re a DIY enthusiast, or keen to get some hands-on green roof experience and make your own green roof, check out the Teaching & Training page on our new website or REGISTER NOW to book in for this exciting workshop.

Let’s green the city, one roof at a time.

Touring sustainable design

Want to see green roofs and green walls in action? Well here’s your chance. We had such a great response to our February tour we decided to go ahead and run it again this March 29. Come and join Shelley and Anton to explore one of Melbourne’s most beautiful and sustainable homes.

Feb 21 and 22 was an busy and exciting weekend for us, as green roof and sustainable design enthusiasts joined us for a private tour of one of Melbourne’s most innovative green homes.

Vertical garden

The tour kicked off with a walk through the past, as Shelley Meagher took us through the surprising history of Ferntree Gully, from its earliest inhabitants to the artists and colonists who celebrated and shaped the landscape, to the strange times of pteridomania.

Our host, Anton Englemeyer, shared his challenges and experiences of building a high performance home on such a steep and rocky site. Sweeping from the award-winning water filtration garden to his careful selection of low VOC and certified sustainable products, he gave pithy, detailed insights into building for sustainability.

10a Front Balcony    3- stormwater managment system main sediment pond

As we climbed up through the house, from business at the base, through to social and family rooms on the second floor and finally the sleeping zone on the 3rd level, the 120 km city views revealed themselves. One lucky tour group was fortunate to spot two Wedge Tailed Eagles, circling us from above.

View across the city

With its trailing greenery and meadow-based green roofs hosting a minimum of 75% indigenous species, it is no wonder the birds felt at home above the house.

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But if you missed out this February, not to worry, we will be running the tour again this March 29th. So come, be inspired with Anton and Shelley as we walk through sustainable design in action.

Bookings can be made via the Teaching & Training page on our website www.doitontheroof.com or here.

The Perfect Match at True Earth Market

On February 21 and 22, Do it on the Roof and our partner, The People’s Solar, braved the heat at the CERES True Earth Market to share our latest installation, the Sustainability Rover.

Sustainability Rover

Alex Houlston, Director at People’s Solar with Do it on the Roof Operations Manager, John Hassall

With its blanket of native plants and solar powered watering system, the Sustainability Rover showcases the perfect match made between green roofs and solar panels. Too often people have asked us which option is best for their roof – a garden or solar panels? The answer is that if you want to maximise the efficiency of your solar panels and the number of microclimates in your roof garden, you combine the two.

The two technologies benefit from one another. The green roof plants cool the air on the roof (through evapotranspiration – very clever), keeping the temperature down from the 50-70 degrees conventional roofs hit in the warmer months. This helps the photovoltaic cells to keep generating energy efficiently, even on hot days. The solar panels in turn protect the plants from wind and provide shade. This creates microclimates in the roof garden. A greater diversity of species will thrive and this make the garden more resilient.

It’s a perfect match, and we’re not the only ones to think so. Despite the heat, visitors were keen to learn more about the Rover and show their support for this parnership.

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Stay posted next newsletter for more about how Do it on the Roof and the People’s Solar are working together on crowd funded projects that create better roofs for communities – or contact us to find out more about how this movement can help you!