Extension healing gardens essentially become outdoor sanctuaries for people who are hospitalized as well as their families and the staff that works with them.
Using horticulture to develop a community spirit is new to southern Nevada. Healing gardens are located at senior housing developments and health facilities, such as nursing homes, hospitals and hospices. They are used by patients, families and staff as a respite place, not for production. However, gardening in southern Nevada can be difficult due to low water supplies, poor soils and temperature extremes.
Extension has been involved in the development of a number of healing gardens in southern Nevada, all at different stages of development. Several developing communities are incorporating gardens as part of their environment. The Robert Gordon Annex (a senior housing development) is building a community garden with individual gardens for residents. New health care facilities are including healing gardens as part of their plans. The garden at Silver Sky assisted living facility was intended to be a community garden, but the population at that facility is not able-bodied enough to participate. The residents use that garden as a healing garden instead. The St. Rose Hospital healing garden has been in existence for more than 13 years. Nathan Adelson Hospice healing garden is maintained by Cooperative Extension Master Gardener volunteers.
Anecdotal evidence of the value of a healing garden came from one surgical patient at St. Rose Dominican Hospital, who said, "Spending time in the healing garden was a period of peace in the middle of a very stressful experience."