Nathaniel Witherell Unveils New Friendship Garden

First came months of digging and excavating. Then came the planting ­– honey locust, redbud, and dogwood trees, along with flowering rhododendrons, azaleas, laurels, and hydrangeas. Finally, the topsoil and sod were put down, and chrysanthemums added for a brilliant touch of fall color. Now, The Nathaniel Witherell’s much anticipated Friendship Garden has finally been completed. An official opening celebration took place in the garden on Monday, October 31, amongst a group of donors, staff, and well-wishers.

“This is a special place where our residents can explore the beauty of the outdoors, whether they do so independently or with their loved ones,” said Allen Brown, Witherell’s executive director. The wheelchair-accessible garden can be appreciated night or day. “We’ve installed soft lighting to highlight the landscaping in the evening, and, happily, many of the residents can view the garden from their rooms.”

Located in the heart of the Witherell’s campus, the Friendship Garden was specifically designed to enhance residents’ sensory perception by including plants that change with the seasons and stimulate the senses. In addition to the trees and shrubs, the garden includes benches, wandering paths, and a central fountain.  In addition a new outdoor deck and furnishings, accessed from Witherell’s indoor café, overlooks the garden.

The Friendship Garden is not just an aesthetic improvement; it has true clinical benefits. Studies show that exposure to sunlight, nature, plants, flowers, and fresh air are natural antidotes to depression, a condition often experienced by nursing home residents. In addition, the sights, sounds, and smells of the garden can engage the senses and provide those with Alzheimer’s and dementia positive emotions that they may no longer experience regularly and help them reconnect with the outside world.

Fundraising for the Friendship Garden was a collaborative effort, with support coming from several private and public sources. A major donation to Project Renew: The Capital Campaign for The Nathaniel Witherell from Hortulus: A Garden Club of America Garden Club in Greenwich, CT made possible the new outdoor deck as well as garden furniture – tables, chairs, and benches – for the deck and garden. In addition, the Witherell received a generous gift from The Woman’s Club of Greenwich.

Witherell’s Friendship Garden was designed by renowned landscape architect Peter Cummin, Principal of Cummin Associates in Stonington CT, who generously contributed his firm’s services. Summer Rain Sprinklers in Greenwich, CT made an in-kind gift of an in-ground sprinkler system for the garden.

About Nathaniel Witherell

Nathaniel Witherell is a short-term rehabilitation and skilled nursing center located on 24 beautiful acres just two miles from downtown Greenwich. Witherell is committed to person-centered care provided by a compassionate and experienced staff. Rehab is available seven days a week. The nonprofit is owned and operated by the Town of Greenwich and has been serving the community for over 113 years.

Witherell reflects the community’s collective commitment to provide for the town’s elderly when home care is no longer an option. The vast majority of residents have lived their entire lives in Greenwich and supported the community in which we live. Nathaniel Witherell was recently recognized as “one of the best nursing homes in Connecticut” by U.S. News & World Report. For each year since the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services adopted its rating system in 2008, Witherell has enjoyed the Center’s coveted 5-star rating, a distinction granted to only 22% of the nursing homes in the United States.

To learn more about Nathaniel Witherell, the public may call Allen Brown, Executive Director, at (203) 618-4323, Scott Neff, Development Director, at (203) 618-4227, or visit us online at nathanielwitherell.org.

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