Going Green is Growing to New Heights
photography Thia Konig
(page 1 of 2)
Although the concept has long been popular, especially in urban areas, for some strange reason rooftop gardens usually seem like a rather odd idea to most mountain town folks.
After all, people lucky enough to live in breathtaking valleys like the Big Woods will ask: who needs a garden on the roof when you’re surrounded by Mother Nature’s garden blooming across the top of the world? It’s a good question.
But it turns out there are a few very good answers. For rooftop or “living roofs” not only enhance the natural surroundings, they help buildings become more energy efficient and don’t cost much to install or maintain.
Basically, it’s beginning to look like rooftop gardens are about to catch on in ski towns like Ketchum the same way “sick days” spread after a night of freshly fallen powder.
The idea of rooftop gardens—which first blossomed when Adam and Eve began picking fruit from their living roof in the Garden of Eden—really became famous around 600 B.C., in what we now know as Iraq.
King Nebuchadnezzar had conquered the world and decided to celebrate by turning his castle into the foundation for a massive living roof. Trees, grasses and flowers of all sorts were planted among the many tiers of the complex. The plants cast their roots and flowers alongside the palace walls, doors and walkways; allowing those inhabiting the place to see and feel a part of the abundant flora.
It was considered such a spectacular example of living art and horticulture that the “Hanging Gardens of Babylon” were one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
The popularity of rooftop gardens seems to have waxed and waned ever since. Over the last couple of decades, however, the living roof movement has blossomed in big cities—and the idea has slowly begun to creep into ski towns as well. Whistler’s famous rooftop gardens at the Fairmont Chateau and Nita Lake Lodge are a couple of well-known examples. Snowbird’s verdant rooftops in Utah’s Little Cottonwood Canyon are another. And it appears that Sun Valley just might be growing in that direction.