This Healing Gardens project will restore two acres (including protected wetlands) adjacent to the Cone Health Cancer Center at Wesley Long Hospital to create accessible natural areas ideal for rest, reflection and exercise as well as places specially designed for therapeutic and educational programs. As demonstrated by many studies over the past 20 years, gardens help patients to heal, relax and reduce stress.
The Garden will similarly help hospital visitors and staff. Cone Health is investing $6 million (current estimate) to build a state-of-the-art chemotherapy treatment space on the ground floor surrounded by floor to ceiling windows offering sweeping views of and direct access to the Gardens.
For cancer patients, specialists at the Doris S. Tanger Center for Patient and Family Support will promote activities such as walking, yoga, meditation, journaling and painting to take advantage of the additional health benefits gained by holding them outside. Other new programs will focus on the opportunities to garden. For example, the nutritionist plans to use the raised planting beds to teach patients how to grow herbs and vegetables as well as how to prepare tasty and healthy meals. These shared outdoor experiences will also promote valuable bonding and friendships, so important to those battling cancer.
Key Features of the Healing Gardens (Design work by Sally Pagliai and Claudia Dinep)
The Gardens are designed to be accessible and adaptable. Walkways will lead to different settings with overlooks, patios and benches to experience trees, shrubs, flowers, lawns, streams and wildlife. The beauty and serenity of nature will promote healing of mind, body and spirit. Features include:
• A design that respects the varied topography, fosters biodiversity, restores the habitat and cleanses the rainwater from hospital buildings and parking lots.
• A wheelchair-accessible, 6’ wide loop path (artificial wood boardwalk in wetter areas and concrete in drier areas).
• Decks and patios in the Wetland Garden facilitating programs designed by health care staff.
• A large patio outside the treatment rooms with tables and umbrellas, outdoor ceiling fans and a beautiful arbor.
• A Children’s Path with whimsical garden elements offering a long lawn area for running and playing.
• A Community Garden with raised planting beds (wheelchair-accessible) and a gardeners patio.
• A flower garden, a Japanese Maple Grove and a water feature located near the treatment rooms.
• The Meditation Garden includes a terrace and landscape that patients can view and access directly from the new chemotherapy treatment suites.
The Gardens will be built in two phases. Phase One is the Wetland Garden and begins in 2014 after Labor Day with completion projected in late spring 2015. Phase Two is the Meditation Garden which will be constructed after Cone Health relocates its new chemotherapy treatment area to the ground level of the Cancer Center.
In the Healing Gardens, nature promotes healing of mind, body, and spirit.