Hospital’s Rooftop Garden Back In Bloom

Story by: Avery Tremblett, Public Health Summer Student

The Aberdeen Hospital’s rooftop garden is back for a second growing season. The garden proved a success last year and has returned to add beauty thanks again to the generous funding of the Aberdeen Hospital Auxiliary group and the Aberdeen Health Foundation. Central Home Improvement also helped with some of the supplies. The main difference this year is that it can be enjoyed by clients as well as staff because of a generous donor who provided the funds for the addition of an elegant iron fence to surround the beds. This means that everyone will now be able to go out on the roof to enjoy the garden, to sit in the sun, read or have a snack on the outdoor benches.

Susan Malcolm, Executive Director of the Aberdeen Health Foundation explains, “We are thrilled to be a partner in this great project. The donor who funded the fence was pleased to hear that patients and families will be able to enjoy a public space while at the hospital”. Sharon MacDonald adds that “the Hospital Auxiliary is also pleased to support the garden as they believe it is a wonderful addition to the hospital.”

Hard at work are Avery Tremblett, Public Health Summer Student and Kelley Cavan, Nutritionist, Public Health.

The main difference this year is that it can be enjoyed by patients as well as staff because of a generous donor who provided the funds for the addition of an elegant iron fence to surround the beds. This means that everyone will now be able to go out on the roof to enjoy the garden, to sit in the sun, read or have a snack on the outdoor benches. Susan Malcolm, Executive Director of the Aberdeen Health Foundation explains, “We are thrilled to be a partner in this great project. The donor who funded the fence was pleased to hear that patients and families will be able to enjoy a public space while at the hospital”. Sharon MacDonald adds that “the Hospital Auxiliary is also pleased to support the garden as they believe it is a wonderful addition to the hospital.”

Susan Malcolm, Executive Director of the Aberdeen Health Foundation explains, “We are thrilled to be a partner in this great project. The donor who funded the fence was pleased to hear that patients and families will be able to enjoy a public space while at the hospital”. Sharon MacDonald adds that “the Hospital Auxiliary is also pleased to support the garden as they believe it is a wonderful addition to the hospital.”

The garden is located adjacent to the Women and Children’s unit which is convenient for patients and their families to use, especially for families waiting for mothers giving birth or for children admitted to the unit. This year the main addition is child sized furniture and toys for children – to help them enjoy the space while in the hospital.

“What I like best about this garden is that it symbolizes the partnership between Public Health and the Maternal Child Unit”, says Kelley Cavan from Public Health. “Both our teams work with young families and this garden helps show the importance we place in growing healthy families” agrees Tanya Antle, also a member of Public Health.

This year the garden consists mostly of a variety of brightly colored annual flowers as well as a few edible herbs. A bee house and bath add an incentive for bees to pollinate. Some garden furniture is available as well for those who want to stay awhile. Women and Children’s Unit staff unanimously expressed that they are excited to have such a welcoming public space to use, and are interested in seeing how the recent changes will allow clients to utilize the space.

Sue Arsenault, a Public Health nurse and garden volunteer says, “It is great to contribute to creating a peaceful outside space for hospital staff and families to enjoy with some lovely flowers – a place to relax”. Debbie MacDonald, manager of the unit adds “the children’s garden will add to Women’s and Children’s, offering a quiet place for families to relax, enjoy fresh air and lovely flowers”.

Multiple studies have shown the positive impacts flowers and plants can have on health, including in specific settings such as hospitals. One study by Park and Mattson (2009), suggests that health care professionals and hospital administrators should consider the use of plants and flowers to enhance healing environments for patients. Studies aside, it makes sense that a naturally beautiful space near to clients staying in the hospital can contribute to a positive state of mind, which may improve health outcomes. “I think it’s just a wonderful idea,” says Carolyn Langille, the manager of the Aberdeen Hospital gift shop, “…not only for bringing cheer to the patients, but also to the staff and volunteers. Now if groups wanted to have small meetings outside in the nice weather, they can!”

The Aberdeen Hospital’s rooftop garden is a visual example in New Glasgow of efforts by volunteers and funders to improve the health of the community. Martin Fisher the CHB volunteer coordinator says, “The development of the garden has only been made possible by the hard work of staff and volunteers and the generous support of the Aberdeen Health Foundation, the Hospital Auxiliary, and community businesses; a true partnership. Good ideas grow and we hope this idea will continue to provide a restful space for years to come.”

 

Posted: June 15, 2017