In praise of Sedums and Sempervivums

Most will think of Sedum (stonecrops) and their cousins Sempervivum (houseleeks) species when thinking of the right planting for a green roof. However, they often struggle to thrive long term in our climate and without the appropriate growing medium, or get out competed by grasses. It’s usually better to look around at surrounding natural habitat and try and replicate that with wildflowers and other ┬áplants.

However, on green walls, gabions and other structures they can be very successful, as shown in these Brighton examples.

Featuring on the gabions at the Tempest Inn is Hottentot Fig, an import from South Africa that is very common on many of our coasts and forms dense mats that out-compete native plants. Fine on the gabions, not fine on the beach…

New signs at the Volks wildlife site, Madeira Drive

Good to see the great new interpretation boards at the Volks railway opposite Duke’s Mound, celebrating the wildlife of the seafront. Everyone was stopping to have a read on their way past.


The interpretation is by the talented Lucid Design.

Part of the Volks track bed is a local wildlife site, and sports vegetated shingle plants that local developments such as the new Marina development are looking to incorporate into their green roofs and landscaping.

Madeira Terraces and the ‘famous sheltered walk’ – a step back in time

This superb shot by Paul Norman has recently come to our attention. It’s 1985 – shows the green wall East of the shelter hall is fully intact…sadly a few of these veteran (planted c1880) Japanese spindle trunks are missing now, but it’s still one of the best bits of green wall on the whole stretch. Also visible are the hedges that used to exist along on the southern edge of the terrace. Does anyone know what year they were taken out?


Building Green is meeting with the Council on Friday to talk through the proposals for redevelopment of Madeira Drive. We are keen to offer our expertise and support.

Paul’s group Hanover Action, are doing some fantastic work to improve the quality of life for Hanover residents. Check them out here.