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Walls You Can Eat

Eilene Zimmerman

SAN DIEGO (CNNMoney.com) -- Mario Batali decided last year to install a garden between his adjoining West Hollywood restaurants, Osteria Mozza and Pizzeria Mozza. But a plain old backyard patch wouldn't do. Batali wanted something more visually striking, something more ... vertical? So he turned to Jim Mumford, the owner of Good Earth Plant and Flower Company in San Diego. 

Mumford, 52, had built a reputation as a nontraditional gardener. In March 2007, he embarked on a "giant experiment," replacing the 1,800-square-foot roof of a commercial building he owned with a planter's paradise: three inches of specialized, lightweight soil over a padded waterproofing and drainage system. Now, 46 varieties of plants thrive there, alongside footpaths and faux boulders.

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