Monday, May 23, 2022

Behind The Garden Wall: Kate Gleason Memorial Park, Beaufort, South Carolina


If you’ve spent fretful hours in a hospital bed or visited there with a sick friend or loved one, you might have taken time to rest in a hospital garden for meditation and reflection. But more than likely you didn’t even know one was on campus. When I was confined to hospitals a few years ago for a serious illness, the “wellness” gardens were immensely comforting to me. What was before unnoticed I now greatly appreciate.

Laken Brooks published an article in the May 29, 2021 issue of Forbes, Why Hospitals Are Planting Gardens, explaining the marvelous benefits of making nature accessible to patients and to those who attend them. In summary, “...medical professionals have found that as the plants grow, so too does the mental wellness of their patients.” I recommend it to you.

She notes, “A review in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health states, ‘Viewing nature has been repeatedly demonstrated to provide a range of benefits for human health and well-being. Benefits include reduced anxiety, reduced stress, shorter hospital stays, lower heart rate, and increased directed attention.’ That same review explains, ‘It has repeatedly been shown that the sounds of nature such as wind, water, and animals, are preferred over anthropogenic sounds such as traffic, recreational noise, and industrial noise ... Nature sounds have been used therapeutically to relieve stress.’” This is accomplished through gardens and horticultural therapy on site.

Since my healing, I’ve taken time to visit these nearly secret gardens in appreciation of the thoughtfulness of those who have taken care to establish and maintain them.

I recently visited the Kate Gleason Memorial Park on the campus of Beaufort Memorial Hospital, Beaufort, South Carolina. Though it’s not easily accessible to patients, it could be with some modification. In its current state, it does afford a peaceful place for visitors and hospital staff.

Beaufort Memorial Hospital was founded in 1944 and is situated on a bluff above the Intracoastal Waterway and the Beaufort River. That in itself presents a fabulous view from benches and picnic tables of the river, marsh and the town of Beaufort in the distance. Follow me to see what lies behind the garden wall.
























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