The mystery of the Student Union rooftop garden has been solved.

There have been rumors about a secret garden on the rooftop of the Student Union, and the rumors are true. However, there is more to the story.

Many students have heard about the mysterious garden and question its existence.

“I’ve never seen it, and I don’t know anybody that has, but I think you can see it just looking on the side of the Student Union,” said Chaz Mazzota, a senior radio-TV production major.

But Gary Campbell, assistant director of maintenance and operations of the Student Union, showed the way to the secret garden.

A single glance would inform any curious student of its obvious neglect. Campbell said it’s been about three years since someone has taken cared of it.

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“Somebody in the biology department first took care of it because they used to come out with a professor,” Campbell said. “In fact, the class members used to come and do the weeding on it, and then the professor stopped taking care of it, so the Arboretum took it over and that kind of faded off too.”

He added that the garden was initially installed during the expansion of the Student Union about seven years ago.

“The whole purpose of it was to help cooling of the area and not have such an ugly roof to look at all the time,” he said.

When it was first planted, it was was nice and green. It consisted of low-maintenance plants with a few flowers.

When asked why the garden was called a secret, Campbell replied, “It’s called a secret? That’s the first I’ve heard of that. It’s kind of obvious, you can see it from different areas.”

The garden can be seen when looking at the Union or by standing on other buildings near it, such as the library or the College of Sciences. Campbell said anyone could come see the garden by contacting the Student Union staff and making arrangements. UCF senior Omar Padilla has seen the garden.

“It was less than spectacular. I mean, it’s clearly unkempt,” Padilla said.

Although Padilla wasn’t impressed with the garden, he said it’s worth it to go on the roof of the Union.

“And now when people talk about it I can say, ‘Yeah, I’ve seen it. It’s real,’” he said.

So the question of the secret garden has been answered. Now the question is, why has it been left to die?


Brogan Morris is a Contributing Writer for the Central Florida Future.

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