The last wish of a patient at Children’s National was to go outside–but the complex life support treatments that the child’s condition required made it a complicated dream for her doctors, nurses, and the biomedical staff to fulfill.
“That child really inspired us to say that every single child, who is complex or not, should deserve the privilege of being outside,” says Kathleen Gorman, COO at Children’s National.
Thus, the idea for a 7,200-square-foot rooftop garden, equipped with electrical outlets to power treatments and therapies, was born. Though the rooftop garden was first suggested about four years ago, it wasn’t until just recently that adequate funds were raised, allowing construction to begin.
The garden will be named the Bunny Mellon Healing Garden Dedicated to the First Ladies of the United States in honor of Bunny Mellon, the late philanthropist and horticulturist behind the White House Rose Garden, whose estate provided a multi-million dollar gift towards the garden’s construction. Further funding was provided by Heather and Andrew Florance, CEO of the CoStar Group.
Children’s National also announced in February that the garden will be dedicated to the First Ladies of the United States, as First Lady Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barbara Bush, the late Nancy Reagan, and Rosalynn Carter are honorary chairs of the Healing Garden, while Lynda Johnson Robb, Susan Ford Bales, and Julie Nixon Eisenhower serve on the garden’s Honorary Advisory Board.
Along with electrical outlets, the garden will be outfitted with a labyrinth, trees, and flowers, with a selection of plants that Gorman says were inspired by Mellon. Gorman says the garden will be built on the hospital’s third floor, with views overlooking the city.
“We sit on about seven acres that overlooks the McMillan Reservoir and we can see the entire span of the city,” says Gorman. “So for our patients and families, it’s going to be a great opportunity for them to see the entire Washington city from this garden.”
The garden is expected to be completed in the fall. Take a peek at the renderings and plans for the Healing Garden below.