American Red Cross volunteers rallied at the new Garland, Texas Veterans Administration Medical Center recently to install a perennial garden and micro-orchard to help beautify the space and boost morale of the new residents.
“Patients will be able to utilize this space for outdoor time and garden therapy activities, while engaging and harvesting the fruit and vegetable products that can be grown here,” said Shannon Niehus, Service to Armed Forces in North Texas volunteer.
Engaging in daily gardening routines can lower levels of stress and anxiety, helping patients improve their mental health. Many of the patients that live in this area have limited opportunities to experience outdoor areas as around 90 percent of the patients have PTSD.
“I hope people who see the garden will enjoy and rest among these beautiful green plants and flowers. It gives me profound joy being around it at this moment too,” said Robin Lightstone, a member of the Dallas community.
The volunteers collaborated with each other and made plans to use garden training tools to extend the garden around the fences of the medical center. They want to have the area filled with bright vines and make comfortable space for the patients to visit with their family and friends.
“When hospital patients come out to the deck and are able to see all the inviting plants in the garden area, it will make them feel at home as if it is in their very own backyard,” said Noel Ramirez, a representative from the Garland Veterans Administration Medical Center for development and civic engagement. “We hope to beautify the area to grow their happiness and enjoyment just as plants can.”