February 4, 2019

1:00 p.m.

Kapnick Hall

How to turn soilless areas, such as concrete walls and roofs, into green oases will be shared with us by Brian Bovard at our February General Meeting. Dr. Bovard,  Professor of Environmental Studies at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) will bring a master class to us in rooftop gardening and other challenging areas. Dr. Bovard, better known as Brian, challenges our often-preconceived notion that things grow best in fields of dirt with ample amounts of sunshine and water. We will learn which native plants thrive in other conditions and why ‘plants matter’—to coin a phrase. Brian will delve into the work he is conducting at the Naples Botanical Garden, aided by NGC scholarship recipients Bo Cherry and Shelby Krupar, who will join us. Click here to register members and guests.

It may be unlikely that you will grow anything on the roof, but you can still harvest valuable tips adaptable to your own challenging spaces, like those privacy walls so common to our area. If you’re interested in broadening your horticultural know-how, this is one ‘class’ you won’t want to skip.

“Plant proliferation”, Dr. Brovard says, “meaning lots and lots of greenery, actually helps curb environmentally damaging Red Tide which many remember from last spring and summer here in SWFL.”

“Florae, whether on walls or in beds, absorb the PH altering fertilizers that currently infiltrate our ground water, ultimately running off into the ocean, and contributing to that algae growth.” Hmm, sounds like a trip to the plant nursery is Doctor’s orders!

His project is proving green roofs to be promising, particularly for urban areas. And they are so much more than just ‘another pretty thing’. “The benefits they provide are impressive: cooling, food crops, improving air quality, reducing storm water runoff, habitat for birds and, of course, beautifying the environment. Green roofs may even be used to convert gray household water into potable water”, he says.

Making a fallow space fertile seems like a  ‘no-brainer’, if gardeners have the tools and knowledge to assure growing success in this uncharted territory.  His work, aimed at benefiting our environmental health, aims to provide just that to those interested in this unorthodox gardening style.