When Dr. Keith McKenzie first envisioned healing gardens in the hospital, he never imagined the result would be so incredible. Keith chaired the effort to encourage the Foundation to develop a master plan to create several gardens throughout Dominican Hospital. The new Monterey Peninsula Foundation Rehab Garden at Dominican has come to life with some heartwarming and amazing details.
Designed by local architect Joanie Janecki, the garden is filled with significant elements and local involvement. Beautiful globe lights designed by Joanie’s firm, were created by Roy Johnson of Johnson lighting in Soquel.
But much to the surprise of Beverly Grova, the hospital’s vice president of philanthropy, she discovered that Lupe Santos, who is a food service worker in the hospital’s cafeteria, also works for Roy Johnson and helped fabricate the lights. He showed her a photo of the lights in progress with much pride.
At night, the garden comes to light to the delight of patients and surrounding rooms including moms with new babies and children in our pediatric rooms.
Dr. Jennie Jet, co-director of the Acute Rehabilitation Unit, recently came up to Beverly and said that while her patients are able to use the gardens for rehabilitation, she had a more personal connection.
Dr. Jet explained that as she walks in the garden each morning, she takes the beautiful handcrafted stick and rings the healing bell one time while she thinks about how grateful she is to live in beautiful Santa Cruz, to have her job (which she loves at Dominican) and to have the honor to take care of her patients each day. On her way home, she rings the bell again and says it’s a wonderful way to begin and end her day at the hospital. The bell was donated by local sculptor, Angelo Grova.
Thanks to Rodney Terra, contractor, some of the garden’s beautiful details were further enhanced. Rodney, in addition to being president of FTG Construction, is also a welder and a metal worker. When funds ran short, Rodney fashioned some of the metal elements in the garden himself.
He helped weld the beautiful metal fence cut out with flowers and butterflies and when Big Creek Lumber donated all the redwood for the garden, Rodney fashioned all the metal brackets that clad the posts as another donation to the gardens.
The garden is a labor of love and patients and therapists are enjoying its rehabilitative aspects. The garden exists because over 600 community members, foundations and employees, and physicians helped make it happen. Marc Monte is one of those people.
He named the putting green in honor of his father and mother. His mother, Doris, just recently passed away and Marc is very grateful that she is recognized in the garden, especially since she loved to volunteer at the hospital.
Recently one of our nurses said that his 30 minute lunch break in the garden felt like he just had a two hour break and made him feel restored. The garden is used for therapy, meetings and lunch breaks by physicians, nurses, employees and therapists. It is already a well-used place at the hospital, even the finches have discovered that the fountain makes a wonderful birdbath. We invite you to visit. It’s right off of the front entry.
Dominican Hospital 1555 Soquel Dr, Santa Cruz, CA 95065. Open 24 hours. Phone: (831) 462-7700. Website: www.dignity health.org/bayarea/locations/dominican