monarch, caterpillar, pollinator, pollination

Chestnut Lodge & Green Roof

A unique rooftop garden flowing seamlessly into the surrounding landscape

Situated directly above Chestnut Lodge’s workshop and a doorstep away from our meeting rooms is the uniquely serene Chestnut Lodge Green Roof. Designed by landscape architect Gary Smith, the roof garden flows seamlessly into the adjoining landscape and makes the footprint of the building virtually disappear. In this naturalistic approach to the Lodge’s front door, we used plants that are not only native to the southern Appalachians, but also actively growing on the Reserve property.

Unlike more traditional roof gardens, which are planted with sedums and grasses in soil about four inches deep, the Chestnut Lodge Green Roof incorporates soil eight to twelve inches deep and a superior drainage system that allows the vegetation to flourish. The roof garden is anchored by fringe trees, 25-year-old Gregory Bald azaleas and exquisite alternate-leaf dogwoods. It features accents of rhododendrons, mountain laurel, mosses, lichens and ferns.

The defining feature of the rooftop garden is a fireplace built from an enormous twenty-five-ton soapstone boulder. Prominent Native American sculptor Joel Queen of Cherokee, North Carolina, carved into the boulder the legend of how Native Americans first acquired fire. This beautiful piece of functional art surrounding the fire pit is always a favorite of visitors to the Reserve.

An understory of knee-high plants including huckleberries, blackberries, calendulaceum, blueberries, and vaseyi serves as a transition from the cultivated garden to the natural woodland. The Chestnut Lodge’s nearby motor court is paved with pervious concrete, a substance that allows water to pass through at any point on the surface, preserving ideal growing conditions for the surrounding variety of plants.

monarch, caterpillar, pollinator, pollination
wildflower, native plant, blossom

Plant List

  • Chionanthus virginicus

  • Gregory Bald hybrid azaleas

  • Cornus alternifolia 

  • Rhododendron maximum

  • Rhododendron viscosum

  • Kalmia latifolia

  • Diervilla

  • Leucothoe recurva

  • Mosses

  • Lichens

  • Galax

  • Ferns

  • Huckleberries, blackberries, blueberries, chokeberries

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