container gardens
Rooftop Gardens
A Boston Rooftop Garden

   A delightful example of a roof garden is that of Mr. and Mrs. Joel E. Harrell of Commonwealth Avenue, Boston. Located on the seventh floor of their modern apartment, the thirty-one- by twenty-five-foot tiled terrace commands views of the Commonwealth Avenue Mall, the Boston Public Garden and the city's picturesque rooftops and chimneys. Sheltered by the apartment on two sides, there is a four-foot brick wall along the edge of the other sides to cut the force of the wind and give privacy to the sitting area.

   Lined along the wall are natural redwood tubs and planters, with Japanese yews, mountain laurel, pieris, junipers, Hinoki cypress, azaleas, and trailing Baltic ivy. There are eleven planters and six large octagonal tubs. Though this is primarily an architectural, easy-to-main-tain green garden, in the summer, geraniums, ruffled white petunias, and blue lobelias are planted in front of the evergreens. On the axis of the glass living-room doors stands a charming figure of a little girl holding a large bowl above her head. The bowl is kept filled with water for the birds and the figure stands in a small pool with pots of English ivy instead of water. Two lead fan-tailed pigeons complete the composition. Sometimes potted flowering plants, like white chrysanthemums in the fall, brighten the picture.

   According to Mrs. Harrell, all the soil was brought up by elevator in wheelbarrows and boxes. After containers were filled, humus was added, and each year a few inches of old soil is removed from the top and replaced with fresh mixture. The evergreens are fed twice a year-a heavy application in the early spring and a lighter one in the fall. Plants are watered daily during the growing season. Shade is provided by a large fireproof awning of dark green.

   Because of its good design, this three-year-old rooftop terrace is equally lovely in winter. In fact, the Harrells like it best just after a light snowstorm. At Christmas, the statue is moved to one side to make room for a lighted and tubbed Christmas tree which adds lively color to this rooftop haven.