Gertrude Stein once famously wrote, “rose is a rose, is a rose, is a rose,” but in the new rose garden at the Joan and Howard Woltz Hospice Home in Dobson, a rose is not just a rose, it is a tribute to those who have passed from this world and a source of peace and comfort for those still here.
The Garden Gate Garden Club is in the beginning stages of a Rose Garden project at the hospice home. It is a continuing project of love and beauty for the members of the club, and presented as a gift for the hospice patients, families, employees and the community.
The design for the garden was donated by famous landscape artist and Mount Airy native Chip Callaway. Callaway’s garden designs are featured at public and private locations, including Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham, the Elizabethean Gardens in Manteo, and the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens in Belmont, among others.
The rose garden was designed with a wedge shape that covered the back right corner of the land behind the hospice home. An arbor dedicated to the memory of former garden club member and hospice patient Julie Bray is placed at the entrance to the garden. Large stones were placed under the arbor — they create the path through the serene space.
According to Garden Gate Garden Club President Rosie Sink, the garden will be a place of healing and peace for those who visit hospice, but also a memorial for anyone who wants to pay tribute to a loved one through donations or a rose bush.
Sink said the garden “would be a wonderful place for people to donate a rose in memory of a lost loved one and also a peaceful place people could visit while spending long hours with family and friends [at the hospice home].”
Donations are needed not only for the roses, but also for maintenance of the garden.
Sink said she would like to recognize Travis Holt for all his hard work. Holt works for hospice and he has been involved in the project since the beginning — he built the arbor, prepared the land, had a fence built, and planted shrubbery, as well as general maintenance of the garden.
Roses on a windy day
Girl Scout Troop #41489, led by Lynn Wagner, gathered on a very windy Wednesday afternoon to place the first set of rose bushes into the soil.
Stewart Roten, hospice home chaplain, led the group in prayer and asked for “blessings of sunshine, warmth, and rain” for the garden, and a wish for it to “grow and become a thing of beauty and comfort.”
This was a special moment for one scout in particular — Elizabeth Bray, the daughter of the late Julie Bray. Elizabeth and her father, Dean Bray, worked together to plant a yellow rose bush in the garden.
Dottie Shelton of Shelton Vineyards was also in attendance. She donated the granite columns that will be placed in the garden, and each column will contain the names of those who have donated $500 or more in memory or in honor of lost loved ones.
Each scout in the troop planted a hybrid tea rose bush and more varieties will be planted in the future, as well as shrubbery and the addition of granite benches.
According to Wagner, the scout troop will continue to help with the maintenance of the garden through the summer; the garden is the troop’s project for the scouts’ silver award.
With the wind threatening to blow everyone away, the scout troop remained enthusiastic throughout the process. When asked by Rosie Sink, garden club president, if they were warm, one of the scouts answered, “We are warm at heart.”
Sink said the club members were discussing ideas about what they could do to honor Julie Bray, who spent time in the hospice home before she passed away, when someone mentioned the idea of a garden. “We wanted something her children could visit and remember their mother.”
Stewart Roten, the chaplain at the hospice home, originally came up with the idea of the garden as an “affirmation of life” for the patients and families who spend time there. “We have a lot of families who look for ways to give back as well, and this is one way they can do that.”
With Roten’s idea and the club’s desire to honor Julie Bray, the hospice home was a perfect place for the location. The girl scouts were a perfect match to help with the garden, said Sink.
The plants and decorations for the garden were all purchased “as local as possible.”
“It has been a real labor of love and we just want people to enjoy it,” said Sink.
Donations and endowments for the garden
An endowment will be set up for the care and maintenance of the garden and Sink would like to invite anyone who would like to pay tribute to a loved one or donate funds to the garden. Anyone interested may send a donation to the Mountain Valley Hospice & Palliative Care in Mount Airy or the Joan and Howard Woltz Hospice Home in Dobson, but the donation must be marked specifically for the rose garden.
Sink mentioned that the donations in memory of a loved one do not have to be for someone who spent time at the hospice home, it can be in memory of any lost loved one.
A dedication for the rose garden will take place in late April and anyone is welcome to attend. Further information about the exact date and time will be publicized in April.
Reach Jessica Johnson at email@example.com or 719-1933.