Rooftop Gardens

Like an oasis in a desert, this small patch of greenery in the concrete jungle of Chennai is a feast to the eyes. This bright spot is full of lush green plants, filled with flowers, fruits and foliage. Almost twenty years ago two young men, Bill Benac Jr and Tim Fews, visited Pathway to volunteer. Both were students of Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. Bill and Tim had a definite job carved out for them, to set up a roof garden as envisioned by Prasads. Loads of soil and manure were lifted by them manually along with children of Pathway. Considerable thought was invested in designing the floor with proper water treatment and drainage.

Today this small experimental patch has given great scope for research to grow and nurture plants that normally do not grow in this part of India, due to sweltering heat and humidity. Grapes and pineapple, for instance,require cool climatic conditions to thrive, but they are growing freely at the Pathway roof garden where conditions are kept under control.

This garden boasts several types of plants such as ‘Paan’ or betel leaves, exquisite edible and tasty greens, curry leaves, large pumpkins, egg plant, okra, double beans, cluster beans, chillies, tomatos, fenugreek, spring onions, etc.that reach the kitchen regularly. Flowering plants such as begonia, jasmine, hibiscus, and roses of different hues bloom, and orchids grow utilizing charcoal. To top it all the roof garden is also growing hybrid lemon trees. The roof garden attracts plenty of interested visitors. Children enjoy tending these plants under the watchful eyes of Chandra Prasad and they are indeed proud of their accomplishments.It has also served as training and stepping stone for children and adolescents to graduate into horticulture.