Hortulus Supports Witherell’s Project Renew with a Major Donation
Photo caption: David Ormsby, Chairman of the Friends of Nathaniel Witherell, receives a check from Jane Ghazarossian, Hortulus President, to fund a new outdoor deck and garden furniture for the Witherell (front row, center). Also attending the check presentation were: Witherell resident Frances Newman (front row, left) and (standing left to right) resident Joseph Freda; Allen Brown, Witherell's Executive Director, Karen Sadik-Khan, Friends of Nathaniel Witherell President; Hortulus members Ginny Gray, Rinda Bishop and Laura Cunningham (also a Friends board member); and Scott Neff, Development Director for the Friends.

Hortulus Supports Witherell’s Project Renew with a Major Donation

With daffodils about to bloom and warm weather in the wings, The Nathaniel Witherell thought this to be an auspicious moment to announce 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. The Hortulus gift will make possible a new outdoor deck connecting the Witherell’s indoor café with the facility’s Friendship Garden, as well as garden furniture – tables, chairs, and benches – for the deck and Friendship Garden. Funds raised by Project Renew are used to modernize and refurbish Witherell, the highly-regarded, short-term rehabilitation and long-term nursing care center owned by the Town of Greenwich.

“We are deeply appreciative of the generous donation to Project Renew from Hortulus that will enrich the lives of our residents,” said David Ormsby, Chairman of the Friends of Nathaniel Witherell, Inc. “The gift is a fine example of the high-level of support for the Campaign that we continue to receive from the Greenwich community.”

Situated at the center of the facility, Witherell’s Friendship Garden was specifically designed to enhance the residents’ sensory perception by providing plantings that change with the seasons and stimulate the senses, which is important for those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. There are also paths for walking and residents and guests will be able to access the new outdoor deck from Café Witherell and the Friendship Garden. Witherell’s Friendship Garden has been designed by Peter Cummin, Principal of Cummin Associates, Stonington CT, a renowned landscape architect who has generously contributed his firm’s services to Project Renew.

According to Rinda Bishop, Public Relations Chair and Past President of Hortulus, “The donation met a number of our civic objectives. We had been looking for a project for which a substantial contribution would make a big difference, and be consistent with our mission to stimulate the knowledge and love of gardening through action in the field of civic improvement. Witherell’s new deck and garden furniture will allow visitors and residents to truly enjoy and appreciate the Friendship Garden. We just love this project!”

According to Ginny Gray, Hortulus Finance Chair, the garden club began their search for a worthy recipient after raising substantial funds from its last flower show (October 2010). Discussions for the Witherell gift were first brought up by Hortulus board members Christina Vanderlip and Laura Cunningham (Vanderlip is a past board member of Friends of Nathaniel Witherell and Cunningham is currently on the Friends board) in late 2011. A series of meetings were held in the spring of 2014, when members of the Friends met with the Hortulus Finance Committee and put together a proposal. “We were very pleased that when the request was presented last fall at the Hortulus annual membership meeting, it was approved unanimously. We look forward to seeing the new deck and garden furniture in place,” says Gray.

About Nathaniel Witherell

Nathaniel Witherell is a short-term rehab 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 112 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 19% 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.

About Hortulus: A Garden Club of America Garden Club

Hortulus, which means, “little garden,” was founded in 1930 by Elizabeth Hyde Brownell and a group of friends in Greenwich, Connecticut. While the club has evolved and grown with the times, its membership and their dedication to the environment and community remains a constant. The mission of the club is “to stimulate the knowledge and love of gardening and creative design; to protect, restore, and improve the quality of the environment through education, programs and action in the fields of conservation and civic improvement.”

In 1936, Hortulus was invited to become a member of the Garden Club of America. Hortulus members have enjoyed recognition for horticulture, flower arranging, photography, and conservation, receiving awards and prizes for their work.

In addition to its monthly membership workshops, lectures, and committee meetings, Hortulus also hosts flower shows and garden trips, and has a long tradition of civic service. The club’s contributions include landscaping at Greenwich Hospital and the Library, The Mews, and the YWCA.  Hortulus has also made contributions to the Garden Education Center, Greenwich Audubon, Greenwich Adult Daycare, the Stamford Bartlett Arboretum, and the New York Botanical Garden.

For more information on Hortulus, please visit hortulus.org.


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