of the Roof Garden
people behind the project
Schools and Groups
Peter Savage Garden
(Media File 10mb) Suitable For Broaband
for dial up users (1.6 mb)
Schools garden project blog
more roof garden resources
Living willow sculptures
Sustainable garden design
Risc's edible roof garden
the garden from the Google Satellite map
up in the heart of Reading town centre and you might just see a mini
wind turbine peeking over the top of a roof looking back at you.
central Reading's only renewable energy installation lies the RISC edible
roof garden; a forest
garden complete with over 120 species of edible and
medicinal trees, shrubs, vines and plants from around the globe.
Fed by stored rainwater gathered from the roof, pumped by energy generated
by solar cells and wind collectors on the chimneys; this urban oasis
is fed by paper and food waste compost from the RISC offices and is one
of the nicest places in Reading for a picnic!
an illusion of a rural idyll, these pictures ( right) were in fact taken
3 floors up and 1 minute's walk from where Reading's inner ring road passes
one of Europe's biggest new shopping malls.
our futures' the project behind the remarkable roof garden project
at RISC is a statement about the potentials of working with nature, in
a creative partnership, to create quality living spaces, providing food
and resources for people whilst supporting biodiversity in our own backyard.
gardens are increasingly becoming a focus for reducing the negative environmental
impact of cities.
biodiversity; valuable inner city habitat and feeding stations especially
for insects and birds.
food and other useful plants
urban heat islands which distort local ecologies.
tonnes of water and helping reducing flooding
waste recycling via composting
thermal and noise insulation of buildings
valuable usable space for people
Podcast, with Dave Richards
a summer 2005 article
on the garden from the weekend Telegraph
Royal Horticulture Society:
Produced this article on the roof garden in the June 2005 edition
of the Garden magazine.
Published this piece
in May 2004
magazine published this
article about the roof garden, shortly after it first opened
See visits and open
days sections for more information, we are in the YELLOW
BOOK again, as part of the Royal
Horticultural Society's National Garden Scheme.
Tiger Iris, an attractive flower with an
edible corm from Mexico
about the garden
Roof Garden was planted in Spring 2002 and designed with
the intention that it would slowly mature into a mixed open woodland of
useful plants representing many if the major plant types from around the
world - aglobal legacy on which we all depend. Furthermore the idea is
that by modelling on natural systems we will gain insight into some of
the defining characteristics of sustainability in nature, and adapt those
insights for use in our own built environment.
systems, such as forests are made from a complex ecology or inter-relationships
between many different species. This complexity is what makes nature abundant,
robust and most importantly sustainable. No one gardens a forest, it draws
nutrients from the soil, recycles everything and is solar powered - all
by itself and leaves no waste! If we could learn to make make our own
human designed systems work in the same way, then we perhaps we can come
up with much more sustainabel ways of living.
Some people call this approach to design permaculture,
or environmental design, call it what you want, its an idea who's time
has come. Importantly this approach to development, applied in a broader
way presents the opportunity to learn from nature and to use that insight
to help tackle some of the many environmental problems in Reading, the
UK and around the world.
magazine published this
article about the roof garden, shortly after it first opened.
RISC roof garden is home to over 140 species of useful plants from around
the world, uses composted waste and is made from many recylced and local
materials. It is powered by solar, wind and rainwater and is a unique
space in Reading to explore issues of sustainable development & biodiversity;
raising issues about our relationship with the environment.
win Aspire contract! This a schools gardens initiative in Whitley
Reading. Dave and Steve, the people behind the garden development
here at RISC have formed a partnership designing and building gardens
for schools, businesses and homes, in response to the interest in
the RISC rooftop forest garden.
See a recent
article laying out the case for roof gardens.
the Aspire project
Find out more about having your own forest garden
A 3 minute tour of the garden in summer
download and play on your media player
by the Roof Garden and
made entirely from materials from it, this beautiful nest was woven
by garden volunteer Angi using lilly and iris leaves, in a basket
made from kiwi vine
(click on image to enlarge)
furniture from local hazel coppice wood made for the greenhouse
by a local craftsman on the RISC roof
snow, 2004. Even at this time of year there is plenty to see and
do in the garden. First shoots and buds and getting ready for
a new spring.
logs with shiitake mushrook spawn, March 2004. It will take a
whole year before we can expect to see any mushrooms, but when
they come they will be delicious and nutritious!
and planting. Working with plants & gardens is a great way
to work with people and make new friends as well as to introduce
people to the wonder of nature.
fruits of the Chilean Myrtle, delicions!
plants have important medicinal uses; 80% of the world's people
still rely on what we might call 'alternative' medicine. Tradition,
folklore and modern science combine in the garden!
of the garden
and brown = Hard path & Woodchip path
Dark green = Raised beds, herbs and annuals
Light green = forest garden, fruiting trees, shrubs and climbers.
brown = Wooden deck
square = water tanks and
wind energy system, pumping dripline irrigation system
Gardening, Vegetables and health
RHS piece on the huge health benefits of gardens; Gardeners tend
to eat more and a greater variety of veg, gardening is also known
to reduce stress.
Latest research revealing just how
important eating a varied diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables.
Veg contains all the things we need to bolster our natural defences
against ageing and reduce our risk of contracting diseases
and cancer and cardio vascular problems and despite the huge push
of the 5 a day program people are still not eating enough of the