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Pink Garden at GBMC planted in growing hope of eradicating breast cancer

At Greater Baltimore Medical Center, a new "pink" garden is meant as a reminder to the 16,000 women who have mammograms at the hospital each year that the campaign to eradicate breast cancer continues.

Located on either side of the steps to GBMC's Comprehensive Breast Care Center, the $12,000 garden features benches, bushes with pink flowers that will bloom in different times of the year, trees with pink blossoms, and a bed of stones in the shape of the traditional cancer ribbon, over which water flows.

The garden was formally dedicated Oct. 20.

"Our intent was to enhance the healing environment," said Brian McCagh, executive director of oncology services at the hospital.

The garden is the result of a collaboration between the Roland Park Garden Club, Parkville-based Signature Landscapes and GBMC's Sandra & Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute "to transform an area into a much more beautiful place," McCagh said.

"It's all about people working together to make a difference," McCagh said.

"It's a garden of hope," said garden club member Becky Mowbray, who spearheaded the project after her husband Edwin, a GBMC Foundation board member, approached her in April 2010. "And it is quite beautiful."

Though the entire garden club worked on raising the funds that were drawn from to finance the project, it was a committee of five that took responsibility for bringing it to fruition.

Other people helped out too, but the group included Lynn Jaeger, Elaine Cochran, Margaret Wright, who picked out the materials, and Anne Gerbel, who came up with the idea of the water feature shaped as a breast cancer ribbon.

Gerbel had the idea, but everyone wondered: Was it feasible?

The answer was "yes."

"The water ribbon works beautifully," said Mowbray. "It's amazing."

Signature Landscapes was instrumental in designing and constructing the water feature, as well as the patio for the benches.

The committee worked closely with owner Terry Gerahty and landscape designer Lysa Wieman, who created the plan, provided the plant material and planted the trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals. 

The water feature is especially rewarding for the club members, because at the top of it is a weeping cherry tree transplanted in memory of Ellen Parsons, "a very dear and very active member of the club."

The garden had to be built in two phases. The first half was planted in December 2010, the second half created just last month.

McCagh said he has heard numerous favorable comments about it from staff as well as patients.

"I've seen many people sitting on the benches," Mowbray said. "They seem very impressed and appreciative about what we have done.

"It's been very rewarding."

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