A GARDEN AT A CRISIS SHELTER FOR WOMAN AND CHILDREN
The purpose for this garden has been to create a nice and comfortable place for woman and children having been exposed to domestic violence as well as for the staff.
In the garden are several different rooms that make it an exciting space to explore.
A walk will take you through a beautiful world of sensory experiences of fragrances from flowers and herbs, the sound of running water in the fountain, the taste of berries, nuts and fruits to pick and eat directly, different tactile surfaces to sense when walking in bare feet or touch with the hands. There is plenty of green and natural impressions to delight and calm down the mind.
The garden can be used therapeutic in many ways and throughout the year. It’s possible to be active, play with the kids, maintain the plants, pick flowers or lie down in a hammock and listen to the running water in the fountain, the birds chirping, bees humming and the wind whispering in the trees.
The place was a local school before the crisis shelter moved in in 1978. The old tarmacked schoolyard has been transformed into a place with a fountain that splashes and is both calming and relaxing. A stream of water is bordered with beautiful boulders to sit on or to practice children’s balancing, motor skills and concentration.
Three little bridges cross the stream, so that children can bike or run to and fro. The bridges are also part of a track of white thermoplastic stripes that features little paths children can drive along with their tricycles or moon-cars.
The old garden had already swings and a place for bonfire which have been kept. They didn’t want more fixed play equipment but some animal sculptures here and there that children can go looking for and get connected to.
The former sandpit that was shaped like a ship was also kept but the space for sand play was extended and bordered with logs and stones that will get children to balance here too.
A new paddling pool and the place for a bonfire give children and adults good opportunities to get in contact with both water and fire. Two little seals of concrete made by artist Lissy Boesen have been placed at the paddling pool together with granite boulders to sit on.
There are fruit trees and berry bushes in the backyard that should grow up and make the garden less open to look into from the neighbors. In that part of the garden there has been established a wide area with spring flower bulbs that later in the season is changed into a meadow of wild flowers. The orchard is a beautiful place to walk and play in all year round. Maybe beautiful at its highest in spring when the trees blossom but also nice in autumn with the red and yellow leaves and lots of fruits to pick and eat directly or use in the kitchen for pies and jam etc.
Another part of the garden has got a circular sensory garden with raised beds full of perennials and herbs. There’s a pavilion of glass for meetings and conversations, mindfulness, meditation and other therapeutic exercises. Roses will grow up and cover the rough pergolas that are an integrated part of the garden.
Extract from an article in the local paper, Ringsted Dagblad, where member of the local town council Mette Ahm-Petersen is quoted after visiting the garden with her one and a half year old son on an open day event July 2 2015:
“We were not at all disappointed. It was so generous and you got the immediate feeling of calming down. We totally forgot that the crisis shelter is located at Soroevej (a main road with heavy traffic), because the garden was so quiet and well balanced.
My son, Johan, forgot everything about the cars on the main road and wanted curiously to look for the hens, smell the flowers, run up and down the hillocks, play in the sand and last but not least bathe in the beautiful designed paddling pool.”
Location: Ringsted, Denmark
Building Owner: The Women’s Crisis Shelter
Garden area: 2.500 m2
Designer: Helle Nebelong, Landscape Architect MAA, MDL, MPM, Director
Officially opened to the public 8 May 2015 by HRH the Crown Princess Mary
Video clips and press (in Danish): http://www.ringsted-krisecenter.dk/aktuelt/2015/05/haveindvielse.aspx