An Urban Oasis
Rooftop gardening is becoming increasingly popular, as the world urbanizes, and more of us seek connection to at least some greenery. Urban plantings help purify the air of toxins, produce oxygen, decrease harmful stormwater runoff, reduce the "heat island effect" and provide some food and habitat for wildlife. We can also grow some of our own fresh produce, keep bees, and increase property values.
So we asked urban garden design expert Thomas Lewis of New York City's Floral Studio for some tips on getting started. Floral Studio designs rooftop gardens and other arrangements, including for events and weddings.
Lewis suggests using wood planters, which he says are versatile. Teak and Ipe withstand rot and sun degradation best, although make sure any tropical hardwoods are vintage, reclaimed or certified from sustainable forests. Finish wooden containers with environmentally friendly oils and varnishes. Select boxes with strong joints, since wood will expand and contract with moisture and temperature changes.
Also note that impatiens (pictured) are a solid go-to annual for city gardeners. They can withstand heat, wind, sun and poor soil and air quality.