At My Refuge House we are finally in the last stages of creating our Healing and Meditation Garden! We began planning for this garden last summer (2015) and in January (2016) we finally broke ground on its development. Over the past four months we have been leveling, building, planting, and preparing all of the details. We have had several activities to engage the girls [living at My Refuge House] in the development process and they have worked hard to carry soil, dig in the earth, and plants beautiful gems. For one activity we took the girls on a hike up the hill where the shelter is located and they got to point out nearby plants/flowers they would want in the garden; they would then ask the neighbors if they would want to contribute to our garden and everyone was incredibly generous. We were able to collect a variety of new plants and the girls learned how to transplant them into the pots we had for the garden.
On April 20th we had a garden day for all girls and staff members to participate in the creation of the garden. All staff were encouraged to bring plants to add to the garden and we spent the entire morning planting the loving contributions.
In the past couple of weeks two of our staff members have been hard at work building wooden crates to serve as raised beds and making concrete stepping stones in square molds. We have also facilitated a staff training to make sure everyone knows the purpose of the healing garden and all the different ways it can be used. I led a short presentation on the benefits and design principles and one of the staff led a great nature scavenger hunt to give the staff an example of the activities we will be having with the girls as part of their Expressive Group Therapy sessions. There was much laughter as the staff had to create something out of their nature-found items and we all had a great time.
It is an amazing feeling to see the girls and staff so excited about the garden and I can’t wait for them to see what it will look like when finished. They have put an amazing amount of trust in me as the designer of the garden but I also have complete faith in the staff and girls to take the design and create something far better. They have amazing vision and talent and together I hope we can create something magical that will benefit the staff and girls for as long as the shelter is needed.
Thank you all for your continued support and interest in this project! I will update you once the garden is complete and things start to grow and flourish. 🙂