Synergy 46

PLAYING ON THE ROOF

Hanging Gardens of Babylon aside, in the past the term roof garden usually meant a few wind pruned plants in pots, a bit of modular decking and a string of party lights left over from New Year’s Eve. But in more recent decades, things have seriously ramped up, so that landscape architects are now successfully creating treed garden spaces many floors above street level. One of these designers is Ruth Czermak, and the roof gardens she often creates are for smaller people…

Not that Ruth works solely producing roof gardens. Hers is an outwardly varied practice but at its core sits the constant themes of enrichment and sustainability. Armed with degrees in horticulture and landscape architecture (Burnely and University of Melbourne) she’s applied these two themes from the earliest days of her career. She set up her design and maintenance practice while she was still studying her first degree. She added a garden centre into the mix which exposed her to more clients. She then attacked her second degree and began lecturing at Melbourne on plants and materials. And when she won a tender to put rain gardens into schools, before having children of her own, she “spent time in schools at recess and lunchtime and saw that there was nothing for the children to do but play chasey, so I decided to incorporate more into the program.” Not only did those schools score rain gardens, but Ruth worked with staff to expose students to basic plant biology and the water cycle behind life on earth.

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