LOGAN SQUARE — Paseo Prairie Garden’s annual Mother’s Day plant sale will have to wait until 2022.
Organizers have called off the Logan Square event for the second straight year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Neighbors won’t be able to buy native plants for their gardens going into the summer as they had for many years, and the cancellation means another year of no funding for the garden at 2600 N. Kedzie Ave. The plant sale is the garden group’s only fundraiser.
In lieu of a plant sale this weekend, organizers are looking for volunteers to spruce up the garden, which is in “the worst shape it’s ever been” because of the pandemic, organizer Rosita De La Rosa said. After a year of neglect, weeds have taken over the garden beds and wiped out many of the native plants, she said.
Organizer Laurie Tanenbaum said they hope to usher in a new generation of garden stewards who can keep Paseo Prairie Garden blooming for years to come.
“The group of us who have coordinated everything and have been the main people out here are older and we cannot do as much as work as we used to be able to,” Tanenbaum said.
Volunteers will uphold the legacy of a garden with a 17-year history in the neighborhood.
For many years, the patch of grass, next to one of the Logan Square Blue Line entrances, was littered with empty liquor bottles and was a hot spot for drug users, De La Rosa said.
But after Tanenbaum, De La Rosa and others stepped in to care for the garden in the mid-2000s, it became a vibrant gathering spot for older people and other neighbors.
The organizers launched the annual Mother’s Day plant sale 12 years ago to raise money for upkeep and stay connected with gardeners near and far. The sale draws hundreds of people each year.
Even though festivals, concerts and other summer events are returning to Chicago this summer as the city reopens, Tanenbaum said they don’t feel comfortable hosting the plant sale.
“It’s a very crowd-intensive sale, so we did not want to take a chance,” she said.
In addition to volunteers, Tanenbaum and De La Rosa are looking for community groups to partner with. For a while, it seemed the developer behind the Grace’s Furniture boutique hotel project at 2616-18 N. Milwaukee Ave. would assume ownership of the garden, but those conversations have stalled, Tanenbaum said.
“The problem we have now is really the need for a weekly cleanup,” she said.
To volunteer, email De La Rosa at firstname.lastname@example.org or text Tanenbaum at 773-949-2006.
Subscribe to Block Club Chicago, an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.