Gardening News

The Living Gardens of Hospice of Wake County

Hospice of Wake County’s campus off Trinity Road in Cary includes 12 gardens, most of which have been commissioned or named, and all of which were guided by a landscapes committee with consideration for those experiencing death and dying.

Landscape architect ColeJenest & Stone and contractor Davis Landscaping together with the landscapes committee ensured the gardens provide a calm, green, homelike setting for the three campus buildings, provide a buffer between the hospice home and the outside world, contain natural screening areas for children of visitors to run off steam, and include places where family and staff may spend time in the process of bereavement.

Each patient room in the hospice includes a door wide enough for the patient’s bed to be rolled onto a semi-private patio.  From there views of various gardens provide an environment to experience dying within a natural setting.

These gardens impact every sense: colors are at once brilliant and soothing; fragrances are soft or bold; branches are rough and leaves are soft; soft breezes whisper or harsh winds blow through trees; birds and small wildlife satisfy their palates.

Wheelchair-accessible pathways allow patients to touch and smell plants.  Grading and plantings were arranged to mask the sound of nearby roads, while benches and chairs provide places to sit and contemplate, or to socialize and talk.

Sustainability is achieved with a storm water conservation system built by Rain Water Solutions that includes a cistern to capture and recycle more than 50,000 gallons of storm water runoff and air conditioner condensation. This recaptured water irrigates the entire eight-acre campus and is ideal for plants because it contains no ammonia, fluoride or chlorine, nor does it deplete natural resources.

Water enters the cistern – a man-made, modular system that looks like a series of milk crates – and is cleaned through an engineered system of woven geotextiles, non-woven geotextiles and engineered soil. By keeping out the native red clay, the pumping efforts through a pressurized filtration system will allow the water to be piped to the sprinkler system. The cistern is the first known system of this kind, consisting of a storm water pond with a cistern below.

Future landscape plans at the hospice include the addition of a children’s playground, a labyrinth, picnic area, and a walking path around the campus perimeter.

Darcy Dye is the Community and Public Relations Manager for the Hospice of Wake County.

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