Take a Video Tour Through Anne’s Garden at NGHS

Nature and gardens have always been said to have healing effects, especially when you add the soothing sounds of waterfalls and the fragrance of seasonal flowers.
In 2009, the Fockele Garden Company designed, built and today maintains Anne’s Garden at Northeast Georgia Medical Center. The garden, sculptures and water features are located one level below the main entrance to the North Patient Tower.
The garden, funded by longtime medical center supporters Anne and George Thomas through the Medical Center Foundation, was designed to be a place of peace, relaxation and reflection for patients, visitors and personnel alike. The medical center staff enjoys the outdoor diversion, as they often stop to relax and recharge throughout the day.
The 11,700 square foot garden landscape design is an ellipse, with a 14-foot diameter fountain at its center. Paths radiate out from the fountain and are connected by an outer loop.
There are layers throughout the landscape, for example, the perimeter of the garden is planted with a variety of trees. There are 14 flowering trees in the garden including Japanese maples, Chinese dogwoods and magnolias.
Visitors will enjoy the variety of plantings throughout the year, which are selected for flowers, foliage, texture and fragrance.
“Our landscape plan has many points of interest throughout every season and visitors will see flowers that they are familiar with,” said Julie Evans, Fockele Garden Company vice president and co-owner. “No matter the time of year, guests will be greeted with a variety of color.”
The planting beds that encircle the fountains are filled with brightly colored perennials that are repeated in each of the four planting beds.
Looking down on the garden, from the North Tower, one can see the elliptical pattern that emerges with the repetition of garden design in the planting beds as well as pathways and the color patterns that result from repetition of certain colors and plants.
The circular fountain in the center of the garden has a 36-inch wide centerpiece of Pennsylvania bluestone sections that have been hand-cut and shaped to fit together to form a scallop-shaped bowl, from which water bubbles up and spills into the main part of the fountain.
After the installation of Anne’s Garden, the Fockele Garden Company won two awards on the design: the Grand Award and Judges Award from the Urban Ag Council and the Grand Award in the 2011 Annual Environmental Improvement Awards Program sponsored by the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET). There is a six-foot tall bronze sculpture near the entrance, named Elpida, welcoming guests into the garden. Elpida, the Angel of Hope, is the Greek word for hope, a key component in healing. Local sculptor and former Brenau University Galleries Director Jean Westmacott sculpted Elpida for the garden.
The plaque on the sculpture says the sculpture is meant to “inspire and share the light, hope and courage to those seeking a peaceful place of solace. Her warmth and grace radiates throughout the garden, inviting patients, families and visitors to pause and reflect.”
To keep the garden thriving for reflection, The Fockele Garden Company also installed a rainwater collection system beneath the garden that provides water for irrigation. The system harvests rainwater that falls on the North Patient Tower 26,000-square foot roof and directs it to an underground cistern.
To give an idea of the volume of water available from the roof, it takes less than three-quarters of an inch of rain to fill the 10,000-gallon cistern. The system uses highly efficient drip components — dripline with emitters, xeri-pop sprays and a specialized root watering system for deep watering the tree roots.
In addition to Anne’s Garden, there are four other gardens on the hospital campuses designed by Fockele: Pope Family Garden, Wilheit-Keys Peace Garden, Nell’s Prayer Garden and Christian-David Family Pet Park. The gardens can be visited by the public at any time. The Northeast Georgia Medical Foundation, Fockele Garden Company and HGOR partnered to create the gardens at the Gainesville and Braselton campuses from donor contributions.