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A rooftop garden diary

If you live in a tropical city like me and are curious about how to have plants growing on your rooftop, this blog might be for you.

But first, let's introduce myself in a few lines. I am Solène and I am French. I moved to Taiwan almost a decade ago after graduating in sculpting and fell in love pretty much straight away with the luxuriant vegetation here. My passion for nature grew bigger when I moved to the apartment where I live now as it has a 15 square-meter rooftop.


For the last six years, I have been experimenting with urban gardening in containers and with other DIY installations. Nothing fancy though, the idea has always been to simply use what I already had at home or could find in the street and what had been supposed to be thrown away.


Herb garden in DIY planter / Winter-Spring 2019

Since I have devoted my time and energy to bringing back a bit of nature to the city with my project Concrete Garden, I am always looking for more techniques and knowledge about growing an edible and ornamental jungle in containers.


However, much of the information that I have found actually is focused on or related to land gardening. For instance, how to grow vegetables or a mini food forest in your backyard.


These are really beautiful and dreamy gardens but quite difficult to apply in a tropical city like Taipei where the weather can be deadly for plants in containers in the summer and typhoons mess up any structures set up on a rooftop. Also, container gardening means that you have to know and keep in mind some security aspects about the total weight per square meter, seepage or falling over risks for mentioning just a few.


Even though the hot and very humid weather of Taipei can be difficult for any living beings during summer, the rest of the year is actually perfect for growing plenty of plants including vegetables and herbs. Now, you might be thinking you can just plant your favorite veggies and harvest what you sow a few months later.

Well, if you are lucky, yes.


Autumn-Winter harvest 2018 / Turmeric, celery and herbs

Even though this kind of gardening can do, you will harvest more surely if you know when to grow which plants and which gardening techniques you can apply or adapt to rooftop environments.


Also, using a bit of design and observation can on the long term make your garden water self-sufficient, chemical-free or even semi autonomous. This is particularly recommended if you are a busy city soul. Who has time to water plants everyday during summer?!


This brings me to the reason why I am starting this blog. I wish to share with city dwellers a bit of my urban gardening experience, hoping it will be helpful and motivate some of you to start gardening. For this, I will post one article each month to detail which plants I am growing and for which purpose. I will also explain some techniques that can be used safely in urban environments and of course show the evolution of my garden (with the nails and fails).


Feel free to comment and share your ideas and suggestions. There is no better learning than by sharing and trying.


So September, here I come! I shall keep you posted.



NOTE:

For those who are still not motivated enough to start a rooftop garden (or even a balcony one) let me try to convince you with a few more words here.

Garden rooftops are just like a little piece of heaven on Earth, or should I say in the city. It is the place where you will completely forget about your troubles and will be amazed by life in all its forms. You will get excited to see seeds sprouting, baby leaves growing big, flowers blooming and enveloping you with their scents. It is like a rollercoaster for the senses and at the same time a deep meditative healing.


Creating a garden in the city is also an opportunity to help birds and pollinators find a sanctuary where they can find food, rest and simply live. By creating a garden, you are bringing life back in the city, or in other words, you are contributing to move the city become a sustainable ecosystem. It is good for you, for animals and for the planet.

Convinced?

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