Hospice Gardens – A Place Of Peace
With hundreds of plants, a shed full of donated equipment and countless hours of volunteer time, the gardens at Katie Rose Cottage are the gardens built by the community. They are a place for peace, reflection and a little Zen, as Jolene Ogle discovers.
Like most of us, Susan Lancaster moved to Noosa after many years spent holidaying here. She never intended to become a volunteer gardener; she just knew she wanted to give back to the community she had enjoyed for so long.
Susan has been with Katie Rose Cottage Hospice (KRCH) since its inception all those years ago and is now part of a 25-strong team who have turned three acres of land into a lush, inspiring garden that offers a place of peace for end-of-life and respite guests at the hospice.
I met Susan at the hospice on a balmy spring morning. With her beloved rescue dog Brian by her side, we begin to wander through the lush gardens and it’s clear a whole lot of love, soil, plants and passion have gone into the creation of this exceptional space.
As KRCH Chairperson Carole Ray explains, the gardening volunteers and the spaces they create are vital to the success of Katie Rose Cottage and the comfort of guests and visitors.
“I can’t put into words what the gardens mean to our guests, because I can’t imagine what they must feel. But I do know that at such a tragic time, it is lovely to offer a peaceful place to just be,” she says. “Families can sit and chat in a calming environment. They can have peace and quiet.”
Susan and the gardening team are unrelenting in their passion to create a place where peace prevails. The original gardens have been plumped with lush bromeliads, pretty orchids and forget-me-nots, while the landscaping team have created a serene patio under the canopy of a sprawling tree where guests can relax in the shade on a hot day.
The most current project is a Zen garden created using stones and traditional Japanese-inspired plants set against a backdrop of blooming crepe myrtles. As Susan says, the gardens are for the respite guests and the families of guests staying at the hospice.
“It’s important for them to have somewhere to go and reflect. Everything in the garden is gentle, there is nothing hard-edge about it,” Susan explains.
A host of local businesses and community members have all contributed to this garden either by donating plants, a shovel, their time or garden ornaments. Businesses such as Doonan Garden Centre have helped KRCH by donating mature plants while locals have happily shared their gardening equipment and off-cuts and the local Rotary group even donated a ride-on mower.
The local Men’s Shed will create a Japanese Tea House for the Zen garden and Susan and her team will volunteer their time to create possibly the most beautiful garden within the region.
“These gardens are designed to make people feel good and bring them joy,” Susan says.
And at the end of the day, that’s all we really need; just a little touch of joy.