WASHINGTON (AP) — Off in the distance, young patients can see the Washington Monument from the hospital’s new rooftop “healing” garden, dedicated Friday by first lady Melania Trump as a place children and their families can breathe fresh air, “relax and enjoy in peace.”
Features of the Bunny Mellon Healing Garden at Children’s National hospital also include doors that are wide enough to wheel in hospital beds, power outlets for patients who use machines that run on electricity and fake grass for patients with allergies.
Mrs. Trump quietly toured the hospital and visited the garden in March, and helped children plant morning glories, said to be a symbol of love and renewal.
“We had so much fun,” she said. “I look forward to coming back when everything that we planted is in full bloom.”
Mrs. Trump thanked everyone who donated their services to help build the garden, and said “the end result is something everyone should be proud of.”
“This garden will be a quiet space for children to benefit from nature’s most important elements: fresh air and beautiful views, to relax and enjoy in peace,” she said. “It has always been my belief that a nurturing and positive environment is vital to the health and well-being of all children.”
The garden is named for Rachel “Bunny” Mellon, a friend of first lady Jacqueline Kennedy. Mellon, a philanthropist and avid gardener who died in 2014 at 103, designed the Rose Garden and other gardens at the White House during the Kennedy administration.
Inspiration for the children’s hospital garden came from a patient whose last wish was to go outside, the hospital said.
The garden is dedicated to America’s first ladies because of their longstanding support for the facility, its staff and patients. First ladies dating to Bess Truman have visited the hospital at Christmastime, and some have supported Children’s National in other ways, too.
Hillary Clinton donated proceeds of her book, “It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us,” to the hospital, and Nancy Reagan invited patients to the White House to launch a toy donation program, according to hospital history.