by Elizabeth Reiter
This past June, transformation again came to the “Sunken Garden.” July, 2017
Once upon a time, there was a treasured Lily Pond on our campus that offered a quiet place for reflection. Lush ferns framed the water and the view could be enjoyed either from the bridge or by standing along the pond’s beautiful stone edge.
In 1972, concern for the neighboring children caused Council to make the difficult decision to drain the pond. Initially it was simply emptied and backfilled with soil, but with care it soon developed into a lovely space that became known as “The Sunken Garden.”
When Northe Platte Nebraska Hospital closed, the statue of Our Lady of Fatima from the Convent Garden was shipped to the Franciscan campus and eventually the statue was moved to The Sunken Garden. In 1990 a small water feature was placed near the statue and nestled in among a thick carpet of Impatiens, creating yet another beautiful meditative space.
All good things can be made better, and this year a structural problem in the system blessed Sister M. Jeremias Stinson, Superintendent of Environmental Stewardship, Gardens, Shrines and Woodland Management, with the need to go back to the drawing board and find a new design for The Sunken Garden.
Using rocks from the original Lily Pond, she and her team layered them into the incline of the hill and built a waterfall to run between the stones from the feet of Our Lady of Fatima.
The new water feature flows continuously, creating a soft babbling brook sound. Lantana, a fragrant flowering annual that attracts butterflies, are planted around the Statue of Our Lady. Even the names of the varieties of Lantana provide a delightful experience: Pinkberry Blend, Citrus Blend, Marmalade, Landscape Bandana – all shades of reds, pinks, oranges and yellow.
Our renovated Sunken Garden soothes with sound, inspires with beauty, uplifts with scent and celebrates the harmony of God’s creation.