The Healing Gardens of Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital

August 12, 2015

Coming into the woodland setting of the hospital’s Healing Gardens, stress lightens and healing begins. This feeling continues as you walk amid trees and a stream, past the beautiful landscape plantings that vibrate with color, bustle with pollinators and birds, or glisten with rain or snow. Inviting seating gives you a place to relax and feel rejuvenated.

What is a Healing Garden?

The idea behind a healing garden is to thoughtfully create an environment that provides a variety of natural sensory experiences to aid in stress relief, provide a feeling of peace and a calm oasis away from a busy life or difficulties. As you enter a healing garden area, your senses are awakened to the color of the blooming flowers, the sounds of birds or crickets or the wind in the trees. You smell the pine trees and fresh air. You can touch the soft grass and plants.

healing garden2Throughout history gardens have been used to aid in the healing process. Much research has been done showing the therapeutic benefits of gardens. Viewing natural scenes fosters stress recovery by evoking positive feelings, reducing negative emotions and blocking or reducing stressful thoughts. Studies have shown that surgical patients with views of nature had shorter post-operative stays, took less pain medication and experienced fewer post-operative complications.

The goal of a healing garden is to evoke a sense of calm, peacefulness, where people feel safe, comfortable and even invigorated. The Healing Gardens at Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital will provide that much needed quiet corner where families, patients and staff can reflect, regroup and replenish their spirits.

Garden Plans

Envisioned is a main healing garden and several smaller, more defined gardens. Special gardens or retreats for special people; patients, visitors and staff are all welcome.

Plans for these areas include not only a central garden for healing therapy, but also space for classes for the general public such as meditation and relaxation techniques, tai chi, yoga and other special events. There will be some raised garden beds that are wheelchair accessible and comfortable seating where you can relax and enjoy the fresh air.

The gardens will be maintained with organic, sustainable techniques to help ensure there is no risk to the compromised immune systems of some of our clients.

Garden Wish List

Donations will be welcome and appreciated. It is hoped that many organizations, individuals and businesses will support this project with donations of funding, plants, materials and time to make the gardens a dream come true. The garden wish list includes the following:

  • Plants
  • Materials for raised planting beds
  • Organic compost, soil and mulch
  • Volunteer labor
  • Benches or seating and arbors
  • Wind chimes or other outdoor art
  • Tools

Make a Donation

We invite you to introduce the Healing Garden concept to your church, family, employer, civic organization or other group you may know that donates to non-profits. You may wish to donate in the memory or honor of a loved one and/or to be a part of something special yourself.

To donate through the Healing Garden Go-Fund-Me page, click on the following link: http://www.gofundme.com/5n25yu3w

Your thoughtful philanthropic support of the Healing Garden will enable us to maintain, broaden and enhance the garden program.

Become a Garden Volunteer

The gardens will be lovingly installed and maintained, by a group of volunteer Healing Gardeners. The group will be made up of garden enthusiasts or fans of the Healing Garden’s work and/or ideas; they may be landscapers, master gardeners or people who have never gardened at all. No special skills or training is required to join the team. Everyone on the team will learn from the other.

Some people may choose to just participate in the big spring and/or fall cleanup days; others may come individually or in small groups once a month or as part of a rotation of weekly garden maintenance. The gardeners will formally meet four to six times a year to plan for the upcoming season, set priorities, assign tasks and monitor progress.

If you, or someone you know, has some time and would like to help the Healing Gardens, please consider becoming a volunteer.

To learn more about the Healing Gardens and/or Healing Gardeners, please contact Cathy Flores, cflores@scmh.org

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