The Prouty Garden is a priceless treasure. Designed by the Olmsted Brothers, it opened in 1956 as an endowed gift from Mrs. Prouty, who was a devoted friend and benefactor of Children's Hospital. Mrs. Prouty insisted on perpetually maintaining the garden "as a haven...for as long as Children's Hospital has patients, families and staff to enjoy it". Awarded a gold medal from the MA Horticultural Society in December 1958, it was recently featured in a Scientific American article (3/19/12) documenting the healing benefits of outdoor hospital gardens. Our garden was offered as the gold standard to which new hospitals should aspire.
Did you know that BCH is currently planning to bulldoze the Prouty Garden in order to build a new building? While alternate architectural designs that preserve the Prouty Garden have been offered, they are not deemed "as practical." "Alternate green spaces" will be included in the building's new design, say the architects, but how can potted plants on a rooftop or solariums replace the towering dawn redwood, the hundreds of flowering plants, the fresh air and blue sky, or the pathways that nurture the spirits and healing of our patients, families and staff? For many, this garden is the spiritual refreshment that sustains us through another day of hospitalization, the weeks away from home or a long 12 hour shift. Bulldozing the garden also violates our promise to Mrs. Prouty and the intent of her generous gift.
We do not have to choose between hospital expansion and the garden. Let's pursue other architectural options and save the Prouty Garden's beauty, healing and heritage. It is priceless.