Photo WVC 1999-06: Sydney Darling Harbour rooftop garden

Soil conditioner against urban desertification

Photo credit: Photo WVC 1999-06:

Australia Sydney Cockle Bay Wharf 2

Success project for TerraCottem (TC) in Australia

by Willem Van Cotthem (Ghent University – Belgium)

When preparing for the Olympic Games in 2000, the authorities of the City of Sydney decided to create a dramatic change in certain parts of the city by introducing spectacular plantations of trees, shrubs and flowering plants. To name only two wellknown areas in the city center that turned completely green in a very short period : Cockle Bay Wharf and Darling Harbour. The secret for this fantastic success : the use of TerraCottem soil conditioner (TC) in the containers at the waterside of Cockle Bay Wharf and on the roof top of Darling Harbour, where a huge hanging garden was created (www.terracottem.com).

1999-06: Photo WVC: Cockle Bay Wharf became green in some weeks before the Olympic games
1999-06: Photo WVC: Cockle Bay Wharf became green in some weeks before the Olympic games
Photo WVC 1999-06: Cockle Bay Wharf ready for the Olympic games
Photo WVC 1999-06: Cockle Bay Wharf ready for the Olympic games

TerraCottem soil conditioner was applied to solve the problems of regular watering of the containers with trees, shrubs and ornamental plants, used to embellish the waterfront at Cockle Bay. The potting soil in the containers was mixed with TC at a dosage of 5 g TC per kg of substrate. As TC stocks water and nutrients, it limits the need for regular irrigation in a significant way. As it also stimulates root growth and microbiological activities in the substrate, it improves plant growth in a spectacular way, whilst reducing water and fertilizer consumption.

Photo WVC 1999-06: Sydney Darling Harbour rooftop garden
Photo WVC 1999-06: Sydney Darling Harbour rooftop garden

For the same need of limiting the volume of irrigation water and fertilizers, the City of Sydney decided to mix TC soil conditioner with the substrate on the rooftop (also less weight !). A number of weeks after planting and seeding with typical species of the 5 continents, this rooftop garden became a splendid success. It is visited every year by tenthousands of visitors.

A birdseye view on Darling Harbour rooftop garden
A birdseye view on Darling Harbour rooftop garden

These two success stories with TerraCottem soil conditioner in landscaping projects of a city like Sydney show that TC can be used in extreme conditions for saving water and fertilizer. What was realized within the “concrete desert” of this city, can also be achieved in other cities of the world and in all desertlike areas of the drylands.

Photo WVC 1999-06: Sydney Darling Harbour rooftop garden
Photo WVC 1999-06: Sydney Darling Harbour rooftop garden

Greening of a rooftop or an avenue is submitted to the same irrigation problems as a reforestation project or a vegetable garden in the drylands. TC can be used as an effective tool in the combat of desertification.

Originally published at:

https://desertification.wordpress.com/2006/11/15/success-with-tc-in-australia/

 

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.