The Virginia Beach Garden Club built and paid for Mary's Garden as a community project. Mary Babb Savage was the inspiration for the garden. She had many lengthy hospital stays at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital (SVBGH). She did not have a place to go outside to renew her energy to face her next challenge. Mary Hamilton Winder, an honorary member of the Virginia Beach Garden Club, heard about this project and supported it from her estate. The Garden is named after both Mary Babb Savage and Mary Hamilton Winder. The project committee brought together funds from foundations, organizations, individuals, and businesses to pay for this tranquil area outside for patients, their guests, volunteers, staff, and physicians to visit. It took a few years to complete the project from the design phase, breaking ground, and then the actual construction to finally reach opening day on June 5, 2006.
Master gardeners, landscape designers, and garden club members put a lot of thought into the planning of the garden. Staying with the Planetree concept, colors remain cool and calming, the design reflects an "uncluttered" atmosphere. The plantings were planned for a year-round display of blooms, color, and interest.
Low maintenance is a priority. For example, birdhouses, birdbaths, and bird feeders all need daily maintenance. Birds will visit the garden but we do not encourage them living there. The butterfly bush is another example of high maintenance. It has to be "dead-headed" (remove faded flowers) daily to reproduce new blooms.
The Garden is planted so that the bushes and trees have room to grow. Our goal is to prevent overcrowding. Plants are healthier with space to grow between them. Space encourages peace of mind.
An idea from Jean Marie Randolph to create a place of healing became a reality. The Garden is serving the hospital community every day in ways that touch the hearts and minds of every visitor.
A corporation has been formed to ensure that the quality of the garden will be maintained. All events in the garden must be approved by the Mary's Garden Inc. Board.
SVBGH and the community acknowledge the need for Mary's Garden to provide services and a much-needed respite from the confines of the hospital walls, and a chance for some fresh air and renewal of mind, body, and spirit. It is also used as a recruiting tool for doctors, nurses, staff, and volunteers.