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The Virginia Thurston Garden

Virginia Thurston’s garden cascades down the hillside, in islands of shrubs and perennials, using the natural assets of the land and punctuated by magnificent tree specimens. Each island is beautifully designed for a long season of complementary bloom and for foliage textures and colors.

A large gazebo (sometimes used for group therapy meetings) sits on a promontory, offering vistas, fragrance from nearby wisteria and tree lilacs, and delightful perennial groupings. Throughout the garden are places to sit and enjoy a view or study plants close up.

In one of the few level areas are formal beds with a prized collection of peonies and irises, in season.

At the top of the hill is a meditation garden, developed by the Thurstons as Ginny learned to use meditation and other integrative therapies to alleviate symptoms of her cancer and its treatment. Asian influences include the Japanese maple, bamboo fencing, and the large quartz rock that glows when sunlight strikes it just right. The meditation garden also contains many native plants.

Thanks to the generosity of our neighbors and the owner-residents of the property, this garden is open year-round, Monday through Friday, 9am–5pm, to Healing Garden clients and friends. It involves some steep terrain and uneven footing, so please wear appropriate footwear. There is limited handicap access.

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Support The Healing Garden

We rely entirely on voluntary donations from people like you who are invested in helping those affected by cancer.

Your thoughtful philanthropic support of The Healing Garden enables us to maintain, broaden, and enhance our program offerings and services.

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What is a Healing Garden

I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in tune once more.
— John Burroughs, American naturalist and writer, (1837–1921)

The Healing Garden is a thoughtfully created environment that provides a variety of sensory experiences, and natural flora and fauna to help:

  • • facilitate connection to something outside the body — e.g., a sensory connection to nature
  • • invite awareness of an environment bigger than “the diagnosis,” which can help clients regain a sense of perspective and control

What should be included in a healing garden to make it a truly healing environment? Clare Cooper Marcus, an expert on healing gardens, provides clarification about what they really are:

“The term ‘healing garden’ refers to a variety of garden features that have in common a consistent tendency to foster restoration from stress, as well as other positive impacts on patients, visitors, staff, and caretakers. To qualify as a ‘garden,’ the feature should contain prominent amounts of real nature . . . . to justify the label ‘healing,’ a garden should have therapeutic or beneficial effects on the great majority of its users.”

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Support The Healing Garden

We rely entirely on voluntary donations from people like you who are invested in helping those affected by cancer.

Your thoughtful philanthropic support of The Healing Garden enables us to maintain, broaden, and enhance our program offerings and services.