First healing garden comes to the Southern Tier

By Julianne Peixoto

July 31, 2014 Updated Jul 31, 2014 at 10:39 PM EST

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The first healing garden in the Southern Tier opened Thursday at Lourdes Hospital.

Oncology nurse Julann Ashman had never heard of a healing garden, but after learning about the positive health benefits of nature, she knew that it was exactly what Lourdes needed.

"We’ve been slowly, hardworking, getting this together since March," said Ashman. "This was not done by architects, it has been done by our own hands."

Volunteers, staff and even former patients helped create the healing garden.

"I’m part of the cancer survivor program," said Nancy Percik. "Just the idea of helping to give back to the cancer center and to maybe make it a little easier for other people going through cancer themselves, and for the staff as well."

Healing gardens have been scientifically proven to have positive health impacts, participants said.

"There are over 400 research articles on healing gardens at the moment," said master gardener Jenna Cook. "They've been shown to improve cognition, to improve one's attention to detail, decrease stress and have positive effects on the immune system."

The garden is open to all patients, staff and visitors.