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Paul Griffiths — Landscape Manager for Crossrail Place Roof Garden

World Green Roof Day | Crossrail Place Roof Garden Interview

June 6, 2021

It is World Green Roof Day! An exciting opportunity to celebrate green rooftop spaces. They are helping provide vital habitats for wildlife and giving everyone a better quality of life. Last week YAYZY took a visit to the beautiful Crossrail Roof Gardens; the space is breathtaking! We were fortunate enough to chat with Paul Griffiths, the Landscape manager, who kindly gave us more insights into this particular green roof!

Priscilla- London is a pretty built-up city, and spaces like this remind us of the value of nature. Why is it important to have this kind of space in Canary Wharf?

Paul- There is a retail unit underneath, so we are basically maximising the use of the space. It gives all the workers a green place to enjoy, and it’s very popular. Normal times like before COVID, 10s of thousands of people would come here every day.

It’s a clever use of space. So the Crossrail station was built with the retail unit surrounding it, and back in the days, we would just have a roof on it, so this time we wanted to make use of it. The roof really helps, so it does let us introduce slightly more exotic species than what you would get out there. We very rarely get frosts in here, so you can grow more types of plants, making it more exotic.

Priscilla — Yes, because I read up on the space before, and there are all sorts here!. In terms of plants, What’s the most exotic one you have in here?

Image taken by YAYZY

Paul- I’d say the banana plants we have over there. We have a red Abyssinian, and 2 of them are Ethiopian bamboos which aren’t tardy, so we have to wrap them. Then we have what’s called ‘common bamboo,” which is a Musa Basjoo they will shed over winter in here, but they are very exotic and quite easy to grow. They have very big delicious green leaves, and they grow like the clappers as well.

Priscilla- Amazing, and there is really no restriction as well, right? Because you’ve got plants and trees in here. I am sure it took a lot to get them on the roof.

Paul- Yes, but I have to say that these were planted when they were a third in size. They were planted in 2014, and that’s seven years!! So the top of the trees all grew up here. The trees get quite a lot of good shelter here.

Priscilla — That’s brilliant. What do you think makes this place so special?

Paul- The light. The light collides well with the green. It’s really lovely and the overall space has a very good feel to it.

Priscilla- I completely get what you mean!

What would say is the importance of green roofs like this?

Image taken by YAYZY

Paul- Well it’s well documented now, that green space are good for your mental health. If you’ve had a stressful day in the office, It’s good to have an hour here to eat your lunch. It just gives you the break you need. You can wander around the space too. It’s a very clever design, so you can do 5–6 laps without thinking you’re going down the same path. It’s a great relaxation space for office workers.

Priscilla- Absolutely. My last question is, do you think more spaces in London should have green roofs?

Paul- Getting more green roofs in a metro city is seriously difficult. It’s all in the planning. You’ve got Kings Cross, Regents Station and the Google offices that all have incredible green roofs. However, whilst not impossible, it’s very hard for other existing buildings to make sure that they have a space like this. Green rooftops are the future; we need to utilise the tops of buildings rather than wasting space.

Thanks again to Paul Griffiths — Head of Landscaping at The Crossrail Place Roof Gardens in Canary Wharf

Please check them out Crossrail Place Roof Garden.

https://canarywharf.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/canary-wharf-arts-events-crossrail-place-roof-garden-information-boards.pdf

Instagram: @CanaryWharfLondon

Twitter: @YourCanaryWharf

A massive shoutout to Dusty Gedge & Chris Bridgman, who came up with the idea for Green Roof Day — check out more about them on www.worldgreenroofday.com.

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