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Volunteers wanted for hospital garden

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The founder of Palmerston North Hospital’s hidden gem, the Garden of Tranquillity, is calling for volunteers to keep the garden thriving as the team marks the sacred space’s 13th birthday.

The courtyard garden, located alongside the Chapel and opposite the entrance to the Mental Health Unit - Ward 21, was developed by Barbara Johnson in memory of her son Greg, who died at the hospital in 2000.
Barbara wanted to create a place within the hospital grounds that would allow patients, visitors and staff to have somewhere to take time out and reflect.
Her vision for a sanctuary and garden, planted and landscaped with care, that incorporated seating, water, shade and sun, came to fruition in March 2006 when the Garden of Tranquillity was opened.
Barbara, who has been volunteering in the garden since its inception 13 years ago, said the garden was a special place that she was happy to see well utilised.
“The most rewarding part is that it fulfills its purpose and it fulfills it every day. Whether it’s for patients or families visiting who come through, or staff who definitely use the whole area, it does what it was designed to do.”

Palmerston North Hospital Garden of Tranquillity volunteers Barbara Norris and Barbara Johnson are seeking more help to keep the sacred space in top shape.

She said she often received feedback saying how much the garden meant to people.
“It’s wonderful.  I just love some of the conversations you can have with people.”
Barbara said the volunteer team of three were looking for more people to join them in giving the garden some TLC.
“The idea is that it isn’t arduous. It’s a pleasure to come and do what should be easy work.”
Volunteer Barbara Norris said the work was ideal for keen gardeners who wanted an outlet other than their own garden.
“I enjoy it.  It’s quiet, you see people wandering round and you know they’ve enjoyed it,” she said.
“It’s quite colourful in the middle of summer and it’s a lovely place to come and work.”
Garden volunteers are only required for a couple of hours, once a week, and the times are flexible.
If you would like to know more or to register as a volunteer, contact Action Personnel on 06 355 4354.

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