greentapestry : Rooftop Gardens

Monday, 30 July 2012

Rooftop Gardens

"The farmyard, which was surrounded by trees, seemed to be asleep. The tall grass, among which the dandelions rose up like streaks of yellow light, was of a vivid green, a fresh spring green. The apple trees threw their shade all around them and the thatched houses, on which the blue and yellow iris flowers with their sabre like leaves grew, steamed as if the moisture of the stables and barns was coming through the straw"
~ Guy de Maupassant  1850 -1893

I am so glad that I looked upwards and not just ahead on our recent holiday in a small village in Normandy, France. I was totally smitten with the planted roof tops of these thatched cottages. From what I can gather the irises are planted on a bed of clay along the ridge of the roof. This helps to ensure that the ends of the thatch are secure. As well as serving a practical purpose this looks most attractive too. As you can see there were other plants sprouting from the thatches, including sempervivums or houseleeks. These are often found on roofs both thatched and tiled, as a charm to ward off thunder and lightening.

My French vocabulary came up with a blank when it came to the word for a roof but that information was most conveniently supplied by Rob in his recent post about green roofs over at 'Our French Garden In The Dordogne' Thanks Rob. Roof = toit.


  1. Loving your roofs. I got obsessed by doors on a recent holiday and have loads of photos of unusual entrances, with knockers, bell pulls etc. I think it's great to do this sometimes. The things we often don't look at in detail can be fascinating. I did A level French and wouldn't have been able to tell you the French for roof. Bad isn't it? It was 18 years ago though.

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  3. Fascinating Normandy rooftops Anna - I've never seen Iris's in thatch before! Like wellywoman I have a thing for doors, windows and archways and always take way too many photos.

    Isn't Normandy pretty - a few years ago we had a lovely holiday in Honfleur.


  4. Interesting idea and so attractive. I am surprised there is not an opportunistic Buddleia sprouting in there somewhere - but perhaps they are not native to Normandy!

  5. What a great idea - it look lovely - I wonder why we don't do this in our country.

  6. They look stunning don't they, can't imagine why more people don't request them, although a bit dangerous for deadheading, guess they leave them to their own devices!

  7. Real living roofs. Extraordinary. I love the erm, planting, along the entire roof ridge!

  8. Those thatched cottages are very dreamy. I would love to go and visit to France just to see all their amazing thatched houses. I love the flawless appearance of the thatched roof and the surrounding greenery. I bet touring a village filled with thatched houses will make me feel like being in the 16th or 17th century!

    Rufus Mcclure

  9. Sweet! This is one green and healthy neighborhood. Imagine how incredible it would be like to enter a village full of thatched roof houses. I bet that simple happening is going to be a real eye-opening experience.

    Allyson Sunde


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- Anna.