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Green Roofs and Walls

In the countryside we find time to stop and stare - but in the busy, built up centre of London we are swept along by the crowds hurrying along the pavements.

And yet if we have the chance to glance up and around we can see greenery above our heads and close to where we are walking. It is a heartening sight.

Green roofs can absorb rainwater and prevent flooding; there is space for wildlife; it cuts pollution and improves air quality; it may even cut noise pollution and it can gift us spaces for recreation and relaxation.

Seedum is often used for quick results. it consists of stonecrops - succulents with small fleshy leaves that originate in dry, rocky locations and grown in polytunnels, then rolled out like carpets on flat roofs.

Seedum on the roof of an office block near St Paul's Cathedral

For greater bio diversity there needs to be a wider variety of plants. On this same rooftop, someone is growing vegetables. They will need watering and weeding - and not all rooftops are so accessible to people who want to go up and get planting.

Growing vegetables on a London rooftop

Green roofs are especially important for ground nesting birds such as Lapwings who can breed safely on them. And across East London there are pairs of Black Red Starts on the rooftops.

Over in Covent Garden - which isn't really a garden at all but was a fruit and vegetable market until a few deacades ago when it was abandoned and later became a tourist destination in the heart of the West End - walls are covered with enormous plants that have grown up and over.

Covent Garden

A green infrastructure is growing up, down, around and across the city, spreading over walls and rooftops.


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