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New healing garden at LVH-Muhlenberg

Lehigh Valley Health Network and community members celebrated the unveiling of the new community healing garden at Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Muhlenberg this week.

The idea to transform the garden was the brainchild of Peter Yenawine from Bethlehem, who spent time in the existing space for therapy after having surgery for a herniated disk and felt it could use a face-lift.

Yenawine approached a gardener friend of his who helped connect him with other local gardeners and Bob Begliomini, LVHN’s Senior Vice President of Operations and President of its Lehigh Region, about renovating the space.

“We are so thankful for Peter’s vision and the wonderful community partnership that made it a beautiful reality,” Begliomini said. “This new stunning space will bring peace, comfort and joy to patients, visitors and our colleagues, and we are eternally grateful for everyone who donated their time and expertise.”

The project was funded by LVH–Muhlenberg’s Auxiliary and completed by LVHN colleagues and a group of local master gardeners. The master gardeners designed the project and hand-selected and carefully placed a variety of plants, flowers and trees.

In addition, they tapped into Bethlehem’s history by researching and including herbs identified by early Moravian doctors as having healing properties. Examples include chamomile, salvia, rosemary and thyme. Future plans call for adding QR codes next to each plant so visitors can learn about their healing properties.

The designers espaliered dogwood trees along one of the walls of the hospital and included a cottage garden that contains flowering perennials. At least half of the plants are considered native to the region. The Lehigh Valley Rhododendron Society donated three rhododendrons.

The renovated space also includes a hot-form glass sculpture created by Yenawine. The piece lights up at night and resembles a water fountain. A nearby speaker enhances the space with the therapeutic sound of running water, because water fountains are not allowed on campus for health reasons.

“I wanted to say thank you for the great care I received and saw an opportunity to create something beautiful and healing for future patients,” Yenawine said.

The garden is located near the Family Health Pavilion on LVH–Muhlenberg’s south campus.

A new community garden is open at LVH-Muhlenberg. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO