Healing Garden Lunch Tours


Alex Delaney-Gesing
Features Editor
Healing Garden

Ever feel like you just need a break from campus life? For students, faculty and staff, the outdoor gardens located throughout campus are places that can provide a brief reprieve from the hectic, fast-paced and often chaotic world of college.

Lorain County Community College is home to seven specialty gardens spread throughout campus. One garden located in the main courtyard, called “The Healing Garden” has recently started to hold walkthroughs. On the first and third Friday of each month at noon, a tour of the Healing Garden is given for anyone interested.

Since June, LCCC Gardens Coordinator and Sustainable Agriculture faculty member Marco Wilkinson has conducted these short tours through the garden that consist of the history, folklore, and usage behind various plants, differing each month and depending on the season.

Dedicated in memory of Robert L. Callaway, dean of Social Sciences and Human Services who passed away in 2009, and with the help of a faculty member committee as well as the support of LCCC’s president Dr. Roy Church, the garden opened in September of 2012.

Designed by artist Donna Drozda, the Healing Garden consists of four quadrants full of plants intended to represent each of the seasons with stone sculptures set in each corner (as well as the center). The five sculptures, created by sculpture Fred Gearhart, are comprised of two parts; one stone per sculpture cut in two, polished to expose their inner beauty.

Wilkinson works as the curator of the garden and was responsible for choosing the various types of seasonal plants in each quadrant. “All the plants in the garden are not just physically medicinal, but have a religious or folklore connection in healing,” he said.

The tours center on the topic of how humans heal themselves in history through present day. Attendees are taken around the garden’s seasonal quadrants and become educated on two or three specific plants per tour.

In August, plants that have been focused on include those that bloom during the summer months; angelica gigas (in the same plant group as parsley and having a history as a charm against contagions such as the Black Death in Europe), hollyhock (in the mallow family, used to soothe internal problems like sore throats and prevent migraines), and borage (having a cooling effect on the body) to name a few.

Tours will extend into late October, Wilkinson says, pending the arrival of cold weather and snowfall leading into the winter months.

The growing number of gardens across campus in recent years has resulted in multiple caregivers. Wilkinson works with a small group of volunteers to ensure the blooming growth and prosperity of the gardens. Volunteers range from students, staff, and even community members.

Wilkinson says, “I’m always looking for volunteers to help with the gardens. Right now there’s a total of six volunteers, ranging from nine years-old to mid sixties.”

Certain specialty plants found in the Healing Garden will be up for sale in mid October, so keep an eye out for later news. Whether in need of a breath of fresh air or interested in learning the medicinal / spiritual history of specialty plants, the Healing Garden is the place to be.

For more information about volunteering, the Healing Garden, tours, or the other six gardens located across LCCC’s campus, email Marco Wilkinson at mwilkinson@lorainccc.edu.