WHITE POST — The Northern Shenandoah Valley Master Gardeners are helping create a sensory garden at the San Damiano Spiritual Life Center in Frederick County.
The retreat property is filled with garden settings throughout the campus. A visitor’s first glimpse of a secluded and peaceful area is the inner courtyard as you walk in the front doors.
Helen Lake, a Master Gardener and a certified horticultural therapist, along with Lynn Hoffman, a fellow Master Gardener and parishioner at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church, came up with a three-phased plan that would include two educational classes and working sessions.
So far, there have been two classes on sensory and therapeutic garden design and basic landscape design at San Damiano for the 20 volunteers and several staff members who have signed on to renew and rejuvenate the inner courtyard. The goal is to create a meditative and therapeutically healing environment for everyone who comes to the Center.
Most of the people involved in this project are Master Gardeners from the surrounding counties (Clarke, Frederick, City of Winchester, Shenandoah, Warren and Page). The next step is to invite and encourage parishioners from local parishes and anyone who would like to help maintain and learn about sensory gardens.
Areas of the courtyard have been divided into teams, which will suggest rejuvenation plantings and design a rosary/labyrinth and an herb garden areas.
The area is being cleaned up and pruned for the winter season, and the Master Gardeners will start implementing the upgrades in the spring of 2021. If anyone is interested in volunteering or bringing out youth groups or homeschool groups to help, they can contact Vanessa Lewis at Vanessa.Lewis@arlingtondiocese.org
Information about San Damiano can be found at the web page https://www.arlingtondiocese.org/san-damiano-spiritual-life-center