Healing Plants

by | Sep 19, 2018 | 0 comments

In the last couple of weeks, I have spent many days with my mom in the Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I am so blessed to be able to spend the days and nights with my mom as she is recovering. As I sit here watching her sleep, I thought I would write about the plants I am seeing and what they are doing for the people who are residing here. Of course I notice the houseplants wherever I go.

The first day I went to the cafeteria for a quick bite, I was impressed by the many gorgeous plants making the hospital corridors more attractive and softening the stark environment.

Dracaena ‘Janet Craig Compacta’

Aglaonema planters

Schefflera actinophylla

Dracaena massangeana and palm

Sansevieria window boxes

Navigating the hallways was nice as I love seeing houseplants wherever I am. Then as I approached the cafeteria area, I was greeted by a beautiful atrium filled with plants, benches, and a water feature with the soothing sound of moving water. I first observed it from above on the second floor.

Atrium from above

It is called The Varney Garden as it was funded with a gift from, and is in memory of Margaret and Franklin Varney. Margaret was an operating room nurse here and her husband Franklin was a personnel director for the Upjohn company. The sign reads “it is a place of peace, contemplation, and inspiration”. It works for me.

From above

Multiple stories high

The sound of water is soothing

Did you know that it has been proven that plants in patients’ rooms make them feel better and heal quicker. Tests have been done with plants in rooms and rooms devoid of plants. The patients with plants did better. I know I would. So the hospitals have filled the corridors with plants and added atriums that patients and their families can enjoy and hopefully will speed the process of healing.

These plantings have grow lights above them

Grow lights on the Dracaena ‘Lemon Lime’

Ferns and philodendrons


It was nice to eat lunch and sit among the plants for a few minutes. It was peaceful and serene and cleared my mind for a few minutes of the anxiety of mom’s illness.

On the floor we are on in the building across the street from the main hospital, there is a beautiful small atrium filled with plants that has a glass top 3 stories above. It is a nice place to escape and take a phone call or just sit for a minute or two. The lucky patients that have the interior rooms, get to look into the atrium, instead of out to the rock filled roof top we look at. The pigeons are cute, though and remind me of Burt and Sesame Street.

Small atrium on our floor

Another view of the 2nd floor artrium

You can see the windows of the rooms around the atrium and there are three floors of rooms that overlook this lovely room.

I think it is amazing what plants can do and the feelings they invoke. Who wouldn’t want to be surrounded with plants as they try to heal in the hospital? I know it would make me feel better and as a family member of a patient,  it does. Have you had the same experience in a hospital? Do the plants make you feel better or hopeful?

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