BALTIMORE, MD. – Tucked into Baltimore’s eastern warehouse district something new is growing. Lead by Green Roof Service and ADI Architecture and Design Inc. the former icehouse of Resource Conservation Technology welcomed one of the regions first Honey Bee oriented green roofs.
Volunteers and honey bee enthusiast poured onto roof to be apart of the new habitat for honey bees. On lookers explored the garden as volunteers eagerly planted in the unique growing media.
“One of the greatest threats to honey bee populations today is the destruction of habitat due to urban sprawl,” says Diane Odell (ADI), bee keeper and the garden’s designer. To help remedy this, the honey bee green roof features 5,500 square feet of honey bee habitat complete with a small hive provided by State Beekeeper Oliver Snyder III.
Below the rooftop activities, Peter Normandt entertained visitors with information on bee keeping as they enjoyed a bountiful array of honey based snacks.
To make the rooftop garden possible, special engineering and the use of modern green roof technology was needed. “The end result is a light weight vegetated structure that slows and contains contaminated storm-water reducing runoff, reduces air-borne pollutants, protects the roof from damaging UV rays, and better insulates the roof reducing heating and cooling,” says Kat Harrold, accredited Green Roof Professional.
Another benefit the green roof structure provides which makes the bee garden possible is a cooler roof environment. “As water travels through the growing media, roots, and exits through the leaves it creates a cooling effect much like when one sweats. On a sunny day this can reduce the air temperature on the roof by about 10 F degrees,” says Jorg Breuning of 30 year green roof designer and owner of Green Roof Service.
The plants that compose the honey bee garden consisted of a wide variety of flowering plants ranging from bulbs to small trees. The specially selected vegetation provides continuous bloom from February till November.
“The installation was a great success,” commented Diane Odell. “I can’t wait for the spring when everything has been established and starts to bloom.”