Saturday, August 2, 2014

Healing Gardens

It's nice to see continued interest (and funding) for gardens as part of a healthcare campus.  These garden spaces have so much value for patients, staff and guests.  The term Healing Garden is hard to define as I feel all gardens can be "healing" in terms of relaxation, exercise and other usage.  However, healing gardens can also have more specific goals beyond what most of us would consider a typical garden setting.  An engaging garden space in a healthcare setting can help reduce stress, provide therapy opportunities and add to the quality of care on so many levels.  These gardens can also increase staff morale, provide space for activity/usage and contribute to a positive experience for patients and their families.  The photo above is a walking labyrinth at St. Mary's Hospital in Madison, WI.  I took these photographs this past Thursday.  This labyrinth was part of a larger garden that included a wide range of flower color, plant texture, engaging water features, shaded seating and other elements that really made it a well-used destination.  The five photos below were taken in this same garden space which I found quite enjoyable.  I think that all too often, the "corporate landscape" of mown turf, sheared shrubs and a couple of containers are all that augments these hospitals and healthcare settings.  An engaging garden can offer so much more (including reduced hospital stays and quicker recovery for those that can view and/or experience these spaces).  Further below is the newer Healing Garden at Edgerton Hospital (WI)

The photo above and those below are of the maturing Healing Garden at Edgerton Hospital.   I have visited this garden over the past three years and have enjoyed seeing it fill in as new features and plants are added annually.  Using a designed and enhanced retention pond as the centerpiece of the garden, this space will certainly be increasingly used by staff, visitors and patients.  Nestled between three sides of the facility, this garden includes raised beds, seating areas, a pavilion and will ultimately have a labyrinth as well.  This is a neat garden and I hope that continued support will help this garden continue to grow and improve!

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