Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Gardens that heal the spirit if not the body
There's no need to convince me of the mind-soothing, perhaps even healing benefits of gardens. So, it's a delight to learn of an organization that is promoting exactly that. Beyond that, I'm hopeful that as more of you learn of this organization, you might consider helping spread the word.
Hope in Bloom is a non-profit 501©3 organization that provides gardens for women and men undergoing treatment for breast cancer. The gardens come in various forms — small outside gardens, inside gardens or patio container gardens, whatever is best and most suitable for the individual undergoing treatment.
Hope in Bloom is based in Massachusetts and, to date, through the efforts of many volunteers (including landscape designers and other Green Industry pros), has provided more than 75 gardens to individuals undergoing treatment for breast cancer.
The founder of Hope in Bloom is Roberta Dehman Hershon. She started the organization in 2007 following the death via breast cancer of her longtime friend and fellow garden-lover Beverly Eisenberg in 2005.
“Beverly loved flowers and took pride in her garden. Together, we spent hours pouring over catalogs, visiting nurseries, selecting plants and digging in the dirt. When she was no longer able to garden, her friends kept her house filled with flowers. She, like so many of us, took pleasure in their quiet beauty,” writes Roberta Dehman Hershon on the website.
Hershon says she is grateful for the support of nurseries and other suppliers that have provided product at wholesale prices and of the volunteer efforts of landscape designers and others who have selflessly given of their time and talents. Even so, more than 100 individuals undergoing treatment for breast cancer are on the Hope in Bloom garden "wait list".
The need for more assistance (meaning more sponsors, donations and more volunteers) is great.
The American Cancer Society estimates that 192,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed among women and 1900 among men in 2009. More than 40,000 women and 400 men were predicted to die of breast cancer during 2009, said the Society.
"We know gardens play a part in the healing process," says Hershon from her Dedham, MA, office. "Gardens offer their own special medicine."
This is a worthy program and one that deserves the attention and support of the Green Industry. My guess is that just about all of us have been touched by cancer — if not ourselves, then a family member or friend.
To learn more about Hope in Bloom visit its website at http://hopeinbloom.org.
To learn more about the therapeutic benefits of gardens, you can also visit the website of Therapeutic Landscapes Network — http://healinglandscapes.org. — Ron Hall