What would I do without the gardens?

Legacy Health is a non-profit health system providing health services across six campuses in Portland, OR. Across these sites, Legacy emphasizes patient, family and employee-centered care through nature-based programming. The Legacy Emanuel Medical Center installed a terrace garden in 2014 through the Nature Sacred Award program. In addition to the Nature Sacred research investigating health outcomes, this four-season terrace garden connected to the Family Birth Center and Cardiovascular Care Unit provides healthful experiences for all who enter.

A pregnant mother, on bed rest for 40 days prior to delivery, shares this personal and uplifting story with us:

Aerial view of the Terrace Garden
Aerial view of the Terrace Garden

What would I do without the gardens during my 40-day stay at the hospital? After three days in a row of not spending time in the gardens, I can tell you that my mood deteriorated, I didn’t feel like doing my room exercises, and cried every day. I continued my garden visits after these three days and noticed an immediate improvement of my well-being.

It’s hard to describe in words the happiness created in me by the gardens. As I sit here now, birds are singing songs to me, bees are collecting pollen from the beautiful flowers, and a white butterfly flutters around me as if to say hello.

Legacy Pregnant 2Sometimes the birds come to me because they have learned I have bird seed. By sharing the seed with others, I have witnessed happiness and joy of others who also receive gratification from the birds.

My eyes and senses are also brought to life by the gardens. The lilies are amazingly beautiful with a sweet aroma. The lavender and rosemary beg me to rub my hands on them so I may smell like their fragrance. Even the big bowl of mixed greens invited me to eat a small sample so that I may taste fresh life.

Whether people come here to cry, laugh, or relax, we are all positively affected by the healing natures of the garden.

Note: In consideration of privacy, photos here do not depict the writer.