Visitors to the Crawford Town Park’s north playing field may not be familiar with the story behind the beautiful garden in the north playing field with the tiled wall and pink ribbon walkway – the Garden of Hope. Pink rose bushes are artfully planted throughout the space, other beautiful perineal plants include phlox and sage, a grand white hydrangea, bee balm, daisies, and more. A gift of painted rocks adorns the wall itself, left by unknown artists with inspiring art and messages. Past American Cancer Society Relay for Life Organizer, and cancer survivor, Donna Henke brought the garden to life and broke ground with the help of her husband, Bernie, as well as a corps of dedicated volunteers in October 2015.
One of the features, the tiled wall, was designed to allow members of the community to purchase custom and personalized tiles to both remember the memory or honor those who have been touched by cancer. The wall is one focal point in the beautiful garden, featuring beautiful bench seating, and a few new touches; a stone bird bath installed this year, and painted birdhouses donated by the Community Garden Club of Pine Bush.
“We were able to buy the birdhouses from Kelli Palinkas,” said Nancy Miller of the Community Garden Club of Pine Bush. “She had some left over from another project and I handpicked two with purple in them for the Garden of Hope.”
Henke added, “The Garden Club has made donations to the Relay for Life in the past, but this year they made a donation directly to the Garden of Hope. The money is for the upkeep of the garden and this year we purchased $300 worth of plants, weed and pest control products, mulch and the bird bath. The tiles for the wall are always available for purchase, and maybe people would like to remember someone who passed from other reasons, not just cancer.”
The women talk and pull weeds while walking through the flowers, pointing out how well the various blooms are doing, as a few bees buzz among the plants.
“It’s just a beautiful place to be,” said Henke.
The tiles are continuously available online at polarengraving.com/gardenofhope. Each tile is 6” x 6” and Henke said the price has never increased, $35 for tiles with text only, $40 for those with a logo or clip art with a small percentage of the price going toward the maintenance of the Garden.
Community members can be found most days walking around the gravel track, and for a few, some times spent in quiet reflection while sitting in the Garden of Hope can be relaxing, a time for reflection and remembrance, or simply a bit of natural beauty break in an otherwise hectic time.