Read the July 20, 2006 A Porch and Flowering Meadow, 6 Floors Up by Anne Raver in the nytimes.com, where you can see additional photos.
A West Village couple and their daughter enjoy their piece of the country nested atop a 6 story building in the heart of Manhattan. Mom is a writer, and Dad is the owner/builder of the building, and built the greenroof after a visit to family friends in Elk Lake, PA. The greenroof meadow is planted with thousands of sedums as well as the U.S. midwest native, Talinum calycinum, nestled in about seven inches of a lightweight growing medium of 83 percent expanded shale and 17 percent compost.
The 2,200 plants supplied by Emory Knoll Farms were planted in three days in June 2005 by the family and two friends. Drip irrigation lines were installed but used only when needed. Planters hold a small Japanese maple, lilies, daffodils, basil and mint, and Rosa rugosa. The owner acted as his own contractor and did much of the labor himself, resulting in a cost of $12 a square foot rather than the $17 a square foot it might have been (New York Times, see below).
Andek was applied over the existing roof – a polyurethane coating / a layer of polyester fiber / another coating of the polyurethane at a cost of about $1.00/s.f. (labor & materials); Hydrotech waterproofing membrane and root barrier and Floradrain drainage and filter fabric materials came next at about $5.00 / s.f. (labor & materials); 25,000 lbs of growing media cost $5.00 / s.f. for the material, the delivery & getting it “blown-up” to the roof. The sedum & labor to plant cost about $1.50 / s.f. (Personal Communications with the owner, 2007).