Thursday, October 28, 2010

First rooftop garden built for bees!

As an eco-friendly gardener, I love honey bees! I love fresh honey and I understand the vital role that pollinators play in the production of some of my favorite plants (such as coffee and chocolate!)

So I was excited to see the news releases about the First Green Roof for honeybees that Green Roof Service LLC and Architecture and Design Inc (ADI) are creating on the rooftop of an historic Ice Storage House in Baltimore on November 9th.

Green roofs are beneficial for several reasons: they reduce the Heat Island Effect, absorb rain water and effectively reduce the amount of contaminants that reach the Chesapeake Bay. But by using bee-loving plants for a green roof, they can also help encourage beneficial pollinators!

One of the greatest threats to honey bees today is the lack of habitat due to urban sprawl. A rooftop garden for bees can provide an ever-blooming habitat and water source for bees while reducing the building’s energy consumption.

Jörg Breuning, founder of Green Roof Services LLC and a native of Germany, has worked for over 30 years in green roof design and installation and helped bring green roof technology to the United States. Breuning, who has been a key figure in establishing guidelines and regulations used by trade organizations to standardize the green roof industry, feels that the combination of modern green roof technology with honey bees is a 100% natural and successful symbiosis.

“Sustainable growth of plants in an urban environment and on green roofs benefit from pollinators as natural players,” said Mr. Breuning.

Diane Odell GRP, of ADI Architecture and Green Roof Service’s certified Green Roof Professional/landscape designer Kathryn Harrold sourced locally grown plants that are suited to the harsh environment of a green roof, yet also offer a rich source of food for the honey bee menu.

Lee Jaslow owner of Conservation Technology and the warehouse is proud of "practicing what he has preached" over the years. He stated that this is the first green roof with honey bees in Maryland and one of the first of its kind in the country. Conservation Technology provided all technical components of the green roof and will be in charge of maintenance ensuring its future success.

Construction for this historical moment for Baltimore's ecology will take place on Tuesday November 9th from 1:00 p.m. to 4 p.m. and is open to the public. Demonstrations explaining green roof technology will be held throughout the installation, and staff will be on hand to answer any questions about the installation and beekeeping. Admittance is free and open to the public.

Please visit the website: for project info or visit the company’s websites: or

The historic Ice Storage House is located at 330 W. 23rd St. a block off Howard Street. For more information on this project or to attend the installation, please contact or visit
To learn more about the importance of pollinators, visit these great sites:
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Pollinators
U.S. Forest Service Pollinators
Pollinator Partnership

Creating Sustainable Landscapes - today!

"CREATING SUSTAINABLE LANDSCAPES," discussed by Holly H. Shimizu of the U.S. Botanic Garden, sponsored by Virginia Cooperative Extension. 9:30-11:30 a.m., Fairlington Community Center, 3308 S. Stafford St., Arlington County. Free, registration required. 703-228-6414.

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