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The fountain was designed with sweet little details, such as hidden beetles, that make great targets in a game of “I Spy.” (The design of the fountain also limits pooling water, which can harbor germs.) And the fanciful speaking tube can be used in speech therapy, Keifenheim said.
The horticultural elements of the garden, which are tended by the hospital’s maintenance staff, were designed and installed by Bachman’s, which had great leeway with plant selection, according to Tara Yost, senior sales consultant.
“They had already purchased the pots,” she said. “Basically, they told us, ‘Make this look beautiful.’ ”
The rooftop location dictated many of the plant choices, Yost said. “The rooftop gets full sun — hot, baking sun. Heat reflects off the building and the rubber floor. We needed plants that could tolerate that, that were both heat-tolerant and drought-tolerant.”
She chose tropicals and succulents — “things that would naturally grow in those conditions” — but that were safe for children. That meant no cactus, because the spines could injure kids at play. Nothing poisonous. And nothing that would attract bees and butterflies. “They’re fun for kids but could be dangerous for kids with allergies,” Yost said.
Ben and Jackie Brorson of Woodville, Wis., are looking forward to being in the garden the next time they visit Children’s with their son Brayden, 18 months, who is undergoing treatment for a tumor on his kidney.
“There’s not a lot to do in the NICU,” said Jackie.
When Brayden is hospitalized, she and her husband rarely leave the facility, so having a garden getaway on-site will be a day-brightener — and a place for their 3-year-old daughter to play while her little brother receives treatment.
“Whenever he gets sick, she gets sent to Children’s, too,” Jackie said. “Anything outdoors, she’s happy. It’s really peaceful up there — all the colors, hearing the kids laugh. It will bring a lot of happiness.”
Kim Palmer • 612-673-4784