In order to carve out a footprint for the Hale Family Building now under construction on the land-challenged Boston Children’s Hospital campus, the organization decided to use the courtyard that had been the site of the Prouty Garden. The removal of the garden has caused controversy.
“The Prouty Garden has had a special place in the hearts of many families,” says Barry Keady, Local 12 business agent. “Many patients would visit its tree during their stays and found comfort there. Some families would spread the ashes of their children in the garden.”
When word got out that the hospital was planning to build over the garden, many supporters came forward to oppose the project. A group sued the hospital and asked for a court injunction to stop the clinical building from moving forward. The motion was ultimately denied.
In acknowledgment of its importance, BCH is honoring the garden in a number of ways. According to Jim Bent, senior project executive for American Plumbing and Heating, the GBPCA contractor working on the Hale job, the Dawn Redwood that stood at the center of the garden was sent to a mill, and its timber will be used to make benches and other items for new and existing gardens at the hospital.
“The spirit of the tree remains,” Bent says. “The spirit of the garden will remain.”
Also, families and staff members at BCH were able to take seeds from the tree to plant in their own yards. And soil from Prouty Garden was collected and will be transferred to other gardens at the hospital. Plants and statues, as well, have been or will be moved and showcased in other gardens.