A 20-year-old garden on the Southampton Hospital campus that includes a walkway lined with bricks dedicated to East End residents felled by cancer has been refurbished with donated labor, greenery and materials.
The “Garden of Hope” project started in September and was completed last month at no cost to the hospital, in keeping with the tradition of community involvement that started when the garden was created by volunteers, according to hospital spokeswoman Marsha Kenny.
“It’s a heartwarming story,” Kenny said. “This has been an extraordinary project with community support from more than 30 garden and landscaping vendors — weeks of work at no cost to the hospital — so that staff and visitors can take a break and walk through or sit on one of the benches.”
The idea for the garden was conceived by Susie Roden, a breast cancer survivor and the hospital’s patient navigator and community outreach coordinator for the Ellen Hermanson Breast Center. Roden, 62, of Southampton, said she thought of a garden as something uplifting for those battling the disease. “It’s all about life and growing and blossoming,” she said.
The garden, enclosed by hedges and located at the corner of Herrick and Old Town roads, had become overgrown. Some original plantings were restored and the more than 250 bricks purchased over 20 years as memorials were incorporated into a reconfigured walkway.
Kenny said the walkway has become so popular that bricks in recent years were made available to honor those who provide the Southampton community with outstanding service. Each brick costs $100.
“It became a nice way to show appreciation for someone and also to contribute to the hospital,” Kenny said.
To help re-imagine the garden and bring it back to life, new lighting fixtures were also installed.
Residents and hospital employees joined volunteers from local businesses to help with the project, and Eagle Scout Jack Sweeney of Southampton worked on a water fountain.
“It was a true community project,” said Jeffrey Bosch, a senior manager at Whitmore’s Landscaping in East Hampton who coordinated the volunteer and donation efforts. “The individuals and company owners were incredibly generous.”
Mostly colorful perennials — such as catmints, flowering roses, hydrangea and ornamental grasses to provide color and texture in the fall — were added to the nearly half-acre garden, added Bosch, a Water Mill resident.
Volunteers have also stepped up to maintain the garden year-round.