Publication Date


Committee Members

Annaliese Bischoff, Chair - Michael Davidsohn, Member


This study evaluates the variety and quality of four healing gardens currently in existence, with an eye toward developing a healing garden at Western Massachusetts Hospital (WMH) with similar characteristics, but designed specifically to the confines of the WMH site. In the evaluation process, the researcher employed the Mara Eckerling three-layer evaluation method. Personal survey and site photography were performed at four healing gardens; the Howard Ulfelder Healing Garden at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA; the Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, Massachusetts; the Joel Schnaper Memorial Garden at Terrance Cardinal Cooke Health Center in Manhattan, New York and the Ethel Lamay Healing Arts Garden at Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, Massachusetts. A six-range grading instrument was devised with which the researcher assessed fifteen individual elements ranging from visual and olfactory appeal to practical issues such as accessibility and security. The researcher tallied the results and calculated an overall score for each healing garden, giving each a corresponding overall rating. While each of the surveyed gardens appraised well above average, the most highly rated was the Terrance Cardinal Cooke Health Center's Joel Schnaper Memorial Garden, located in New York City. The Schnaper garden was able to appeal to all five human senses in addition to making excellent use of space and creating an open, welcoming, and unique atmosphere with good accessibility for both ambulatory and non-ambulatory visitors. The researcher surveyed the designated area on the WMH campus in much the same manner as was done with the existing healing gardens. Using the Schnaper architecture as guideline and inspiration, the research designed a unique garden, accommodating the multiple patient types, the semi-enclosed space, and one that garnered overall creature appeal. With hospital administration approval the healing garden, with slight modifications, was constructed.