Welcome to Spring! Have you had a chance to step into the Ondol Clinic backyard yet, to see the transformation that has occurred there? We are excited to announce that the healing garden has been completed, and now it just needs time to settle in and grow. Already it is proving to be a special place to relax and rejuvenate.
Healing gardens “are a space to escape the speed, quickness of mind and multiple foci of our daily lives – an invitation to slow down and to notice different things,” says Mark Jacques, director of the Melbourne-based landscape architecture studio Openwork.
Both the design of the space and the choice of plants are essential elements to consider when creating a healing garden. At Ondol, we wanted the design of our backyard to bring a sense of calm, relaxation and escape to all who spend time there. Curves are central to the landscape, with garden edges that lead the visitor through space in a way that mimics the natural curves found in nature. Also echoing nature are the round stepping-stones that guide us in our explorations. We have designed the area to include several places to stop and sit – an invitation to “slow down and notice different things”. Each garden seat area offers a different vantage point to frame our reflections. Being able to maintain appropriate “social distancing” is also part of the design.
The choice of plants was another essential part of the process. The healing garden as a sensory oasis is enhanced by the selection of beautifully scented plants. Lemon Myrtle, Jasmine, Lavender, Gardenias – all of these bring a fragrant scent to the air. Alpinia mutica, also known as ‘False Cardamom Ginger‘ gives a spicy scent when rubbed, so those kinaesthetic visitors are not forgotten. Visually, the garden will be spectacular too, with Camellias, Japanese Maple, Gazanias, African Daisies, Lilies, Elephant ears and Silver dust all contributing to the celebration of colour. And of course, Australian Natives feature prominently – Kangaroo Paws and Grevilleas will attract the birds and bees. We have already seen a couple of curlews visiting the space since the changes.
Finally, bringing the whole space together is the beautiful green lawn. Micheal Penny, one of the landscapers, will help us to look after the outdoor space and maintain it. He and Luke Sullivan, our chief landscaper, have worked so hard to make our garden dreams come true, so a huge thank-you to you both.
There are two-level grassed spaces, where we would love to hold some outdoor movement classes. It could be utilised for yoga, Qi gong, stretch classes or other group activities. We are looking for interested instructors, so please let us know if you would like to be involved in running a class here.
We feel very fortunate to have had such a dedicated team of people, who thought through this project with such care and vision. They were able to bring our ideas to life and to capture the feel and energy that we wanted.
We are very much looking forward to summer, the flowering and unfolding of the garden and relaxing under the beautiful Frangipani tree. So please come and spend some time in this oasis. And if you have any ideas on how we could make the space even better, please let us know!