Falling short of its fundraising efforts, the Garden of Ideas on North Salem Road in Ridgefield will close this year. \u201cSad facts: our capital campaign was a failure \u2014 we needed 1,600 people to pledge $600 and only received 130 pledges,\u201d Joe Keller wrote on the Ridgefield, CT Facebook page on Tuesday, Sept. 10. \u201cAll money sent in to honor the first year of pledges will be returned. Thank you!!!\u201d Keller is the 13-acre property\u2019s master gardener. He was attempting to turn the free public garden into a sustainable self-supporting venture in the town\u2019s Lake Mamanasco neighborhood. In addition to not getting enough pledges, Keller wrote that the Garden of Ideas is looking at tens of thousands of dollars in ash tree removal. \u201cI\u2019m very concerned about safety as the dead trees begin to break and fall,\u201d he wrote. Keller also said that the costs to maintain the gardens, sculptures and walking paths \u201cescalate every year.\u201d \u201cProperty taxes are onerous already and will only get worse,\u201d he said. \u201cAs the Garden expands and improves, maintenance costs keep rising. Charging admissions was a great idea \u2014 wish I had thought of it 10 years ago.\u201d Background The Garden of Ideas started on the small residential property where Keller grew up, learning gardening \u2014 and the love of it \u2014 from his mother, Terry Keller. She was the \u201cGardening Guides\u201d columnist in The Press years ago \u2014 a role he took on for some time himself. She headed the Ballard Greenhouse in Ridgefield, went on to lead the Green Guerrillas gardening program in Manhattan, and later started the Bronx Green-Up program at the New York Botanical Garden. \u201cShe had a landscaping business that, as high schoolers, my younger brother and I worked for \u2014 some friends of mine worked for her, too. So, I grew up around it, I enjoyed it,\u201d Keller told The Press in September 2018. After college he started his own landscaping business, and today, Keller and his wife, Ilsa Svendsen, earn their living landscaping \u2014 their business, Svendsen & Keller, has clients around Fairfield County and nearby New York state. Over the decades, the Garden of Ideas has grown to include four properties along North Salem Road \u2014 Joe, Ilsa and their son live in one house, his mom Terry lives in another, and two are rentals. The simple version of Keller\u2019s plan was to have the Friends of the Garden of Ideas \u2014 an eight-year-old 501(c)(3) nonprofit, with a board that Keller heads \u2014 raise $1 million through contributions and use the money the two buy the rental properties from the family. The Garden of Ideas \u2014 as opposed to the Kellers \u2014 would have owned the two properties, and receive the $40,000 or $50,000 a year in rental income. He wrote to the Ridgefield community on Tuesday that his family members were reaching points in their lives \u201cwhen decisions requiring money will have to be made.\u201d \u201cOur capital is locked up in the properties \u2014 a successful capital campaign would have unlocked it,\u201d he said. \u201cI will be writing more about this on our Facebook page soon. Thanks again!