Up On The Roof: Garden Club Thrives Atop Park Ridge Condo Building

Sourced from Chicago Tribune

Two years ago, a garden that sits on top of a condominium building in Park Ridge was in jeopardy.

Residents said those in the building, at 170 N. Northwest Highway, were not spending time in the garden and it was cumbersome and costly for crews with a landscaping company to maintain it. It was suggested that, perhaps, the garden could be paved over.

“That kind of freaked me out,” said Gail Benedetto who moved from a home in Wheeling to her Park Ridge condo in 2009 with her husband, Rick Benedetto, now the vice president of the condo board.

Instead, she had an idea that would be not only environmentally friendly but also help build community — maybe the gardening should be done by the building’s residents. Today, that garden is thriving.

“A lot of people move into a condo and still want to do gardening or don’t move into a condo because they still want to do their garden,” she said.

Benedetto started by clearing out a few spots, and neighbors joined in, planting tomatoes and peppers, lettuce and Swiss chard. The roof already had built-in automatic sprinklers, so maintenance on the new plots was low. They just needed planting, weeding and pruning.

The garden club of the building gets the word out through fliers on the communal bulletin board as well as an email list. There are spots for vegetables and herbs as well as flowers, and Benedetto has found there are bonuses to the garden being on the roof — there are no rabbits to eat her plants that high.

She said the garden has been popular, and there are five members of the club. She said a neighbor recently knocked on her door asking for a plot, and other garden enthusiasts are spending time up on the roof.

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