Written by Aaron Michael –
The Sexual Assault Victims Advocate (SAVA) Center's Audubon Rockies Habitat Hero Healing Garden is a beautiful and functional space that was designed and created with the goal of providing habitat for birds and pollinators and a peaceful and therapeutic environment for people. The garden was created in partnership with the Audubon Rockies, an organization dedicated to protecting birds and their habitats, and features a variety of native plants and other elements that support the ecosystem.
We originally found the landscape in a state of just rocks and invasive weeds. A complete transformation would be necessary to make the landscape, which encompassed the entire front of the building, inviting and nurturing for all those who visited the SAVA Center.
When designing the new garden, the goal was to create a space that would be beautiful and multifunctional. To become a healing garden, the space was designed with the intention that this would be a loving space where people experience true connection and healing. In effect, careful consideration was placed in plant colors, sizes, and textures. For instance, there was a preference in selecting plants that were purple for the calming effect the color provides. Prairie Switchgrass was thoughtfully placed nearby an area where private, vulnerable conversations are often held, to provide a sense of privacy and refuge (and as the birds also utilize such tall grasses for the same reasons).
In implementing the garden, thanks to the hardworking and dedicated teams of volunteers, led by our Project Management (as well as the invaluable contributions by SAVA volunteer Amy Dondale), the garden was installed in just three days. The volunteers worked tirelessly and many shared that they sensed a special sense of connection to this project. From a drab landscape of rocks and weeds, to a beautiful thriving space full of life, the care that the volunteers had in their work shined in the final result. We are grateful for the many volunteers, a majority who are employees from Ken Garff Ford (which additionally provided grant funding for the project, as well as Comcast Colorado), who provided a sense of community and altruism that this great work is all about.
The SAVA Center's Audubon Rockies Habitat Hero Healing Garden is a unique and beautiful space that provides habitat for birds and pollinators and a peaceful and therapeutic environment for people. It is a testament to the power of nature to heal and restore, and we are grateful for our role in its creation.
Just one year after the garden's implementation, the plants really grew! Purple Coneflower about five feet tall, Anise Hyssop about seven feet tall; we had never seen these plants grow so big before, and so fast. Amy Dondale, who originally connected us with this project, lovingly takes care of this garden on weekends and her love for the garden really shows. Amanda Olivier, Executive Director of the SAVA Center, shared with us that the children who visit the center go outside and take joy in counting the pollinators in the garden. The intention of this healing garden was realized immediately and in spades just a year later. Amanda further shared that so much goodness comes out of this garden because it was created out of love, and we would agree.
Additionally, read about the SAVA Center's Audubon Rockies Habitat Hero Healing Garden here, written (and photographed) by the Audubon Rockies' Evan Barrientos.
Earth Love Gardens creates Landscape Designs both in Colorado and remotely for anywhere in the world you may live. We focus on native plant, pollinator & bird-friendly designs as well as edible landscapes. If you are in the Boulder and Denver metro area we also create Garden Beds and Hoop Houses.