Green ambition – Jason Rokosh scales the heights

The Leaside Gardener

A rooftop garden. Photo by Jason Rokosh.
A rooftop garden. Photo by Jason Rokosh.

Living walls, green façades, rooftop gardens. Just imagine the possibilities beyond the usual lawn.

Meet Jason Rokosh, whose green creativity takes him – and his clients – to new places, and all to improve the quality of urban life. He’s part artist, part gardener and part technician, who, like a magician, can transform a blank wall into a living masterpiece, or turn a sterile flat roof into a flowering meadow.

Jason Rokosh.
Jason Rokosh.

Jason started Vertical Landscape Architects Inc. in 2012 in an effort to bring people and nature together in new and extraordinary ways. And with over 20 years of relevant experience, he knows how to get these challenging installations done right.

As a licensed landscape architect and a green roof professional, Jason is fully aware of the environmental benefits of vertical greening: how it improves air quality, reduces the urban heat island effect, increases biodiversity, and enhances energy efficiency and stormwater management. He also understands that humans have an innate biological and genetic connection to nature, and that daily exposure to plants improves our physical and mental well-being.

“I knew I would be living in the city for some time,” Jason told me, and “I want to champion this type of green infrastructure on vertical and underutilized surfaces to benefit me, my family, and my community.”

A stunning example of his indoor work is on full display at Floka Salon on Bayview. There, a living wall soars from the main floor all the way up to the ceiling of the second.
A stunning example of his indoor work is on full display at Floka Salon on Bayview. There, a living wall soars from the main floor all the way up to the ceiling of the second.

A stunning example of his indoor work is on full display at Floka Salon on Bayview. There, a living wall soars from the main floor all the way up to the ceiling of the second. The impact is powerful thanks to the grand scale, and yet (with all that green) it’s also incredibly soothing. What you don’t see – the magic behind the curtain – is the automated irrigation system with a fertilizer injector that goes off every nine days to keep all of those plants healthy and happy.

Floka owners Alit Kerimi and Bashkim Breznica are thrilled with their living wall. “What can I say, I love it! Everyone loves it!” says Alit.

When I asked Jason if there was a dream project he would like to tackle, he said, “I would like to see more meaningful green spaces that include community gardens and amenity spaces on our flat-roofed commercial and institutional buildings. And I would welcome the opportunity to engage with partners to make that happen in our local community.

I can’t help thinking about all those ‘big box’ stores at the Smart Centre, or all of those giant grocery stores. Imagine if they all had green roofs!

Now that you know some of the many possibilities of vertical greening, and why it’s so important, you’re probably looking at your home and wondering where you can add some more green. I know I am!

To learn more: https://vertla.com/

About Debora Kuchme 65 Articles
After a 30-year career as a fashion designer, Debora worked at Horticultural Design for over a decade. Now with her concerns about climate change, she hopes to help local gardeners find positive solutions for a greener and healthier neighbourhood. As a board member of the Bayview Leaside BIA, she created the Bayview Pixies, a volunteer group introducing sustainable gardening practice to Bayview.