University of Maryland Extension

USO Demo Garden

When Master Gardeners were contacted by the USO staff to consult, the healing garden hadn't been properly maintained since its initial planting in 2014. It was overrun with weeds, over grown with grasses and functioned as a buffet for deer. With the help of corporate volunteer groups, which Master Gardeners directed and educated, we reclaimed the garden for service personnel and their families and it's role as a healing garden.  We've used our training and primarily donated plant bounty to incorporate native plants and deer resistant varieties; which make upkeep manageable and better serves the environment. Getting the garden back has allowed for everything from Easter Egg hunts for service families, a safe place for those trying out new artificial limbs to try different surfaces, as well as tours during our Psychiatric Continuity Services Horticulture sessions. The benches and seats make for a calming place to rest, enjoy nature's bounty and listen to the newly reactivated waterfall sounds.

 Photo credit Michaela Barnes

With the strong support of USO staff, we're looking to add more activities to the garden this year. If you want more information, contact one of our cochairs: Edith Boehler, Yumiko Miura or Michaela Barnes which can be found by logging into VMS.

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