02 Aug Healing Garden Features Pine Hall Pavers
In Winston Salem, We’re proud of our hometown, because when it counts, we work together to get it done. That’s who we are.
In July, a dedication service was held to commemorate the Healing Garden at El Buen Pastor Latino Community Services on Tim Road in northwest Winston-Salem, NC.
The garden, which is intended for prayer, meditation and remembrance, is about 1,200 square feet. At the center, there’s a circle of 2,000 clay pavers which were donated by Pine Hall Brick Company, with benches, a pergola and trellis and plants native to Mexico planted in raised beds and pots.
The pavers themselves tell the story. Day of the Dead is a national multi-day holiday in Mexico in which friends and family members who have died are remembered and celebrated. The pavers—many of which are inscribed with the names of family members—provide a way for the church congregation to remember those who are no longer with them. It’s a reminder of where they came from and who they left behind, says community volunteer Mary Apple, who helped coordinate the project. The garden uses the principles of biophilic design, intended to reconnect people with nature to reduce stress and improve cognitive function and creativity.
“This is a place to meditate, to walk and sit, a place surrounded by the colors, by the sights and the scents of nature,” says Apple.
The local community rallied. Beginning last September, everybody got to work. Compost came from the City of Winston-Salem. The ideas of what plants to include came from the residents themselves – and which volunteers searched for online. The greenhouse staff at Old Salem, two Forsyth County master gardeners and Ana Gonzales at Sassafras Farm donated many hours off-site.
And there were moments of serendipity: an open-air Hispanic market was found in Thomasville, which had many of the plants that they needed. There was the discovery of a local source who could engrave the pavers at a lower cost. And there were others who stepped up with donations of money and time.
The design, with its raised beds and variety of plants, is intended to look like a garden that the neighborhood residents would have outdoors back home—a working garden built with hard work and sweat, as opposed to a more formal setting with precise rows, carefully pruned trees and acres of precisely cut dandelion-free grass.
In addition to Pine Hall Brick Company, there were more than 50 private donors for the project, including the Winston-Salem Garden Club Council , the Old Salem Garden Club, the Colonel Joseph Winston Chapter of the National Daughters of the American Revolution, Forsyth County Extension Services, the First Presbyterian Church, the Shallowford Presbyterian Men’s Group, the BB&T Lighthouse Project, Shouse Nursery and Gossett’s Nursery.
Additionally, there were more than 100 Hispanic individuals who volunteered, including many junior high school students who worked in the afternoons while their fathers were at work.
The Healing Garden isn’t the only way that the community is involved with the outdoors. Almost two years ago, the idea arose to create an environmental teaching center on the property. Today, there are now two Hispanic demonstration gardens, a certified Monarch Way Station, a certified National Wildlife Federation Backyard Habitat, and flower beds at entrances. Six new environmentally appropriate trees have been donated and planted. The Junior High Youth have joined Winston-Salem’s Adopt-A-Street program and have already participated in two clean-up sessions this year—and its mothers’ garden club, the “Green Thumb Girls,” meets every Friday for weeding, harvesting, learning, and fellowship.
What’s there today at El Buen Pastor Latino Services is a sign of how the neighborhood has changed.
In 1999, the Salem Presbytery established a mission to serve the rapidly expanding population of Latino immigrants in the Winston-Salem area. By 2001, the Old Town Presbyterian Church began sharing its space, beginning by offering recreational activities for nearby children. In 2004, the church itself dissolved and the Hispanic ministry was given full use of the facilities. Sunday worship began and with the help of other Presbyterian congregations, children were offered after-school tutoring and parents were given English lessons. From those beginnings, the El Buen Pastor Latino Community Services incorporated as a not for profit in 2006.
In all, it’s a story that’s been told before. Right here. They’re called the Moravians and they founded Winston-Salem.
They moved first from what is now the Czech Republic to settle in Georgia, then Pennsylvania, then to what is now Winston-Salem. The settlement of Bethabara was founded in November 1753 when fifteen Moravian brethren arrived after walking from Pennsylvania. The City of Winston-Salem website says that the Moravians were German-speaking Protestants and are acknowledged as being the oldest Protestant denomination in the world. The settlers built more than 75 buildings in the first two decades, becoming the first of a series of Moravian settlements on the 100,000 acre tract that the Moravians had purchased on the Carolina frontier.
Although separated by a little more than two miles and two centuries, the two groups define the idea of community. That is, after all, what happens when you work together to get it done.