Healing Garden

How It Came to Be

Five years ago, we had no idea what we were doing, we had not planned any of it. In searching for what The Allie Sunshine Project would become, we found ourselves sitting in a community room at the local credit union learning about Healing Gardens, something that would become for us, bigger than life as we knew it. 

We had nowhere to put the overwhelming energy that remained in Allie’s absence. We had been focusing on holding space for Allison’s friendship and her beautiful heart since the day we all met her. This Healing Garden course we enrolled in didn’t seem like much at the time however it turned out that this was a synchronous solution to our grief that emerged as we waded through those early days of picking up the pieces.

We stumbled upon a small ad in the local paper that highlighted a five session course in creating Healing Gardens offered by The Naturalized Habitat Network of Windsor Essex. We were intrigued and founding members Sue and Terry Chartrand, Lynn and Jeremy Hayes signed up as a group. We learned about the healing properties of nature and how to tell a memorial story and more importantly, a healing story using landscape design in ways that incorporate the spiritual and psychological benefits of nature.  The Healing Garden course we took became our destiny when Lynn and Dan Hayes offered the one acre piece of land that Lynn had designed as her healing garden to the Allie Sunshine Project. 

Our founding members chose this as our central project, our meeting place and our sanctuary. We had unwittingly begun to work with nature to find our way out of our grief and forward on the path to wellness. 

Our garden has taught us how to be present to the moment in acceptance of the passage of time, the cycles of life and the gifts of nature as active participants in the web of interconnected life. We put a great deal of energy into our relationship with nature and are celebrating who we are becoming in the process.