Native Cultivars on Green Roof

How do I pick my favorite gas stations?  Lowest prices? Nope, it's the plants, of course.  Here is a great gas station on the corner of 22nd and M St. NW in Washington, D.C.  The roof of this Exxon station was designed as a part of the 22 West Condos.

photo by City Paper

It's hard to do plant ID from twenty-four feet away, but the Rhus typhina 'Bailtiger'--as known as Tiger Eyes, is pretty effective from a distance.  A great plant for drought resistance, texture, color, heck, just about anything.  It is a very vigorous plant in most garden settings, so make sure you have space (and a machete).

The Tiger Eye Sumac is perfectly scaled for this urban environment.

Also peeking over the edge is Schizachyrium scoparium 'The Blues' (Little Bluestem).  While not a terribly tidy grass, the blue color of this cultivar works well with the gray metal panels and chartreuse colors of the Sumac.  Little Bluestem and Sumac are commonly found together along great American highways, so this association in a more urban context is kind of a fun play for me.  The use of the strongly colored cultivars translates two rather weedy plants into a more contemporary combination.

The Sumac is not only spectacular in spring and summer, but fall as well.  Here you can see Tiger Eyes in this shot I took at the U.S. National Botanical Garden in the fall.

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