Growing a 4-season healing garden for the cancer center

Trees and plants were installed in June in the healing garden. Below right: landscape architect Diane Burkard talks with Martin Cleaver of ProScapes. Photo by William Mueller.

Trees and plants were installed in June in the healing garden. Photo by William Mueller.

Patients receiving infusions gaze through windows at the foliage of a four-season garden growing on the roof of the Upstate Cancer Center’s second floor. Visitors may rest on its benches. The space feels like a courtyard, with the cancer center on one side, a computer warehouse behind, and Upstate University Hospital on the other.

preview“It’s quite warm and sunny there,” says Danielle Carr, the project manager at Environmental Design & Research who oversaw the garden project.

One challenge was to choose plants that will be ornamental, even through Central New York winters. Add to that the challenge of planting on a roof. “The weight of everything and the cultural conditions are different on a roof,” says project designer Diane Burkard, also of EDR. “The growing conditions are more challenging and more severe, and the extremes of heat and cold are greater.”

She says that evergreens of various colors are included, along with plants that have interesting bark. “We have river birch and red twig dogwood, and we have different junipers. We have some Japanese maple in there. Those have a beautiful outline. The form of the tree is graceful.”

Around the trees are plants that do not grow tall and that offer variety in color and texture, says Carr.

“There are seasonal changes from early spring vegetative growth, to flowering, to colorful fall foliage. With the grasses and the perennials, there is movement. A gentle breeze will move things around so it’s not static.”

Such a peaceful space will appeal to those seeking respite — plus the birds that are part of nature.

Landscape architect Diane Burkard talks with Martin Cleaver of ProScapes. Photo by William Mueller

Landscape architect Diane Burkard talks with Martin Cleaver of ProScapes. Photo by William Mueller

 

Plant your own

Planting a seasonal Central New York garden means finding plants that provide interest throughout the year. This list–from Environmental Design & Research’s Diane Burkard, who designed the rooftop healing garden for the Upstate Cancer Center –includes spring bulbs, summer flowering perennials, fall blooming grasses and evergreens that provide structure and a backdrop for other plants during their growing season.

Spring

Anemone blanda (Windflower)

Scilla siberica ‘Spring Beauty’ (Spring Beauty Wood Squill)

Eranthis hyemalis (Winter Aconite)

Summer

Geranium ‘Rozanne’ (Cranesbill)

Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ (Goldsturm Black-eyed Susan)

Hemerocallis ‘Pardon Me’ (Pardon Me Daylily)

Autumn

Amsonia hibrichtii (Threadleaf Blue Star)

Bouteloua gracilis (Blue grama Grass)

Panicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah’ (Shenandoah Switch Grass)

Winter

Juniperus sabina ‘Buffalo’ (Buffalo Savin Juniper)

Cornus stolonifera ‘Farrow’ (Arctic Fire Red-twig Dogwood)

Betula nigra ‘Heritage’ (Heritage River Birch)

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