Dr. Carl E. Olson Healing Garden

Not only are the facilities at Columbia St. Mary’s Polly and Bill Van Dyke Cancer Center in Milwaukee impressive, the exterior also plays a role in the healing process. The Dr. Carl E. Olson Family Healing Garden gives patients and their families a place to renew their spirit during their journey with cancer.

The garden was created to help patients and their families connect with nature, which is proven to reduce stress, promote faster healing, reduce the need for medications, and actually decrease the length of one's hospital stay. It is located just outside of the Heitz Radiation Oncology Department in Milwaukee, WI.








The garden features:

  • Upper, intermediate and lower terraces that provide stopping points for rest and relaxation.

  • A waterfall that flows into a pond.

  • An aquatic wetland feature that filters water through the use of watergarden plants, gravel and natural processes.

  • Beautiful flora that blooms throughout the seasons. Flowers were carefully chosen not to overwhelm patients' heightened senses.

  • Safe, wheelchair-accessible walkways with non-skid surfaces.


Columbia St. Mary’s encourages the use of alternative and complementary medicine as part of the comprehensive care plan, and the garden serves as a place for meditation and reflection for patients and their families. For additional support, we provide spiritual care, financial counseling, social work, nutrition, rehabilitation, support groups and wellness classes to help patients and families better understand and cope with treatment.


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