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11/27/2013 9:20:00 AM
Seed planted, healing garden starts to blossom

A simple thought blossomed into a healing garden plan that's getting a lot of support from employees and community members in Cannon Falls.

Pat Nelson and Karianne Hermanson, both Laboratory technicians at Mayo Clinic Health System in Cannon Falls, planted a healing garden idea with the medical center's leaders this summer after Nelson wondered if the perennials from the current building on West Mill Street could be incorporated into the new medical center set to open on the south end of town off Highway 52 in fall 2014.

Since then, Mayo Clinic Health System has been working with its building project architects to develop a plan. "They describe what I'm envisioning as an unconventional labyrinth with perennials, walking paths and seating spaces," describes Nelson. "It would be just wonderful if we could add a water feature, too."

Nelson says the perennials from the current facility will be moved to the new one. The garden would be located behind the new medical center, and available for patients, visitors, staff and the community.

"The Mayo brothers believed that to heal the body, we also needed to nurture the mind and the spirit. A healing garden would help us accomplish that in Cannon Falls," adds Megan Johnston Flanders, M.D., a family medicine physician.

Nelson and Hermanson say many employees from the medical center have already signed up to help in whatever way they can, including maintaining the garden. A local service club stepped up as well.

"We did not budget a healing garden in the new building but our local Rotary club recently helped raise dollars to help us make the garden a reality," says Glenn Christian, an administrator, who is also a Rotarian. "Our Rotary each year has a gala event and raises funds for a special appeal in the community. They agreed to focus this year's special appeal on the healing garden proposal."

The gala took place on November 16 and generated $6,050.

A final price tag for the healing garden has not been determined yet. Christian says the funds generated so far will be used to get the project started. Additional components of the healing garden plan may need to be added on as funds become available.

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