Trends Summer 2013 | Page 8

supportive of the project . Some staff members were more accustomed to their donated money going toward a new piece of equipment or renovation of a service area . They couldn ’ t see supporting “ plants and trees .”
“ When we got done , people were so amazed that I actually had calls saying , ‘ I didn ’ t support this , and I was wrong . This is amazing ,’ ” Giles said . “ This so far exceeded anybody ’ s expectations . It ’ s a gorgeous spot , and it really is a healing spot .”

Feedback from users

Giles said the garden is being widely used for meetings , hospital receptions , lunch gatherings , or simply for personal reflection . Someday the hospital plans to hold Mass in the garden .
Marlene Luther , an administrative assistant at the hospital , eats lunch in the garden most days during the summer .
“ I think it ’ s a great spot to just go have lunch , step away from the desk for a little while , and get some fresh air ,” said Luther , who contributed to the garden ’ s funding . “ Colleagues seem to be relaxed and calm when they ’ re having lunch or taking their 15-minute breaks .” She ’ s seen families and patients use the space too .
“ I just think it ’ s wonderful ,” she said . “ If you ’ re a patient or visitor , the healing garden gives you a place to get away from the stressful situation that may be going on inside . It is truly a place for healing .”

Garden space brings renewed life to treatment facility ’ s outdoor area

After Ayres Associates helped St . Joseph ’ s Hospital transform its bare front lawn into a blooming healing garden , a new idea began to blossom within hospital staff . Perhaps the clients at the nearby L . E . Phillips-Libertas Treatment Center ( LEP ) could benefit from a healing landscape . The change of scenery might bring much-needed perspective to patients undergoing substance abuse or mental health treatment , the Colleague Task Force thought .

“ As they started talking about the garden at the hospital , what we heard was that we really need to have a garden at LEP ,” said Tom Fuchs , director of the treatment center . “ We heard that not only from the LEP colleagues but also from the hospital colleagues who said , ‘ You know , that ’ s a place that really needs healing .’ LEP works with a lot of broken people , a lot of broken families , a lot of broken lives .”
The hospital retained Ayres Associates to design the garden at the treatment center , located in a separate facility adjacent to the hospital . The hospital ’ s Development Office spearheaded a second campaign , and plans for another garden quickly took root .
Again using hospital employee input , Ayres Associates ’ landscape architect Phil Johnson designed a 100-foot-wide-by-70-foot-long garden space that leads to several acres . Once a simple lawn area , it now includes a labyrinth , quarter-mile walking path , bench swing , shelter and bridge over a pond , wood fencing , disc golf course , moon gate , and more . Johnson said he considers the moon gate – a circular structure that acts as a passageway to the labyrinth , walking path , and disc golf course – to be “ unique as a focal point .”
“ We use that to kind of bring people from one space to the other ,” Johnson said .
The additions replace a largely vacant outdoor break space that offered little more than a concrete picnic bench and rarely used volleyball and basketball courts . The design plans were completed in summer 2011 , and construction began in 2012 . Construction was largely completed in 2012 , with a dedication and blessing event held on Sept . 8 , 2012 .
Feedback has been “ remarkable ,” Fuchs said . Patients , families , and staff are using it . He has even seen outpatient counselors conduct sessions with clients while walking on the trail . “ We ’ re just thrilled with it . It ’ s been an inviting , welcoming addition ,” he said .
“ I see what used to be one family out at a concrete picnic table really kind of in some deep emotional stress . … I now see them walking around , and their children are smelling the flowers ,” he said . “ It ’ s just a more engaging environment out there . It ’ s not a big mud hole . It ’ s a beautiful facility , and it ’ s part of the facility .”
Fuchs noted that the improvements were long overdue because the exterior of the building had been unchanged since 1976 . “ It makes good sense to have an exterior environment that matches your interior environment ,” he said . “ If you think about recovery , it ’ s about transitioning your exterior environment and reconciling that with your interior environment . It ’ s about work on the inside and the outside .”
Bobbi Giles , director of development at St . Joseph ’ s Hospital , said the gardens “ have been a terrific addition for both places .”
“ They have given the whole hospital a face-lift ,” she said .