Rosemont Residents Have Green Thumb When It Comes To Gardening
By: Diane Turner-Hurns
Journal & Topics Reporter
As long-time Rosemont resident Al Giuliano harvested some of his large purple eggplants, he waved his arm toward the immense growth of vegetables -- including two-story high corn stalks -- crowding the Rosemont community garden behind the recreation center on Barry Street.
As one turns left from the splash pad behind the recreation center and opens the gates in the back, it’s like walking into a secret vegetable garden overflowing with plots full of tomatoes, corn, peppers, squash, marigolds, carrots, sunflowers and much more.
“This is a fabulous community garden. You can barely walk through the paths due to all the vegetables growing,” Giuliano told the Journal & Topics. “Here I have kale, swiss chard, broccoli, eggplant and tomatoes. This is the third year for the garden and I was here the first year. Unfortunately, I missed it last year, but I came back this year and I’m having a great time. I really enjoy gardening. Much of the harvest will be shared with my neighbors and family.”
Giuliano turned 83 in August and has lived in Rosemont since 1960. He’s a retired denturist.
“I’ve been here for 54 years and I love that the park district began the community garden,” he said. “I used to live on Scott Street, but sold my home after my wife passed away and moved to the Rosemont senior housing apartments, which are great. I also have seven children, 18 grandkids and six great grandkids.”
Rosemont Park District employees Alex Perez and Adolfo Castro noted the two-story corn stalks are from Mexican seeds and produce great corn.
“This has been another successful year for the garden. The participation rate continues to go up. Everyone of the plots was taken immediately last spring even after we expanded the plots,” Castro said.
“We’ve received great positive feedback from residents about the garden this year, just like in past years,” Rosemont Recreation Center Director Omar Camarillo told the Journal & Topics. “The harvest will be huge, but any leftover vegetables we do get we give to families in Rosemont, anyone in need. We now have over 70 plots and they’re all taken.”
Camarillo said this is the third year for the program, that they started the first year with just 40 plots, added 10 in 2014 and now have over 70.
“However, I don’t think we have room to expand any more for next season,” Camarillo said.
Rosemont residents of all ages participate in the community garden. The program is first come, first serve and there is no fee for Rosemont residents. Signup usually begins in early spring. The park district allows one garden plot per family. One must be a Rosemont resident to participate and signup in person. The plots are usually taken the first day.