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Gardening for the body and mind

In 2019, Enchanted Gardens was given the wonderful opportunity of designing a garden for Voss House in Bozeman, Montana. Voss House, previously an inn, had been bought and transformed into an intensive treatment therapy centre for patients with eating disorders. While the beautiful old house had many areas of established mature plants, much of the garden needed care and as the site had been renovated to make it fit for purpose with wheelchair access, the re-built areas needed much work.

We sought out plants that would provide structure and year-round interest, while being suited to the climate where temperatures regularly reach -36 degrees Celsius in winter. For this purpose, we researched plants that are native and grow commonly in the Bozeman, Montana region. This part of the job was fascinating. Many of the plants we love and use often in the UK, do not survive the harsh winters, so favourites like Chamaecyparis lawsoniana had to be substituted by other climate-friendly spruces, and Buxus sempervirens by Buxus 'Glencoe'.

The most immediate part of the garden that required attention was the area alongside the curved ramp, destined to be a seating area, and a strip along the side of the house. Challenges were that in order to leave as much space as possible for tables and chairs, the beds had to be very narrow, with plants that would grow tall but slim - and which would survive shade. Our brief was to achieve a natural perennial look, with colours of green, blues and lilacs, so we could use plenty of grasses, like Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster' (which are obligingly tall and narrow and grow happily in shade), and the local Helichtotrichon sempervirens (Blue Oat Grass). Whereas lavender is largely evergreen in the UK, it tends to turn into sticks in the Montana winter, so we couldn't rely on that as all-year-round structure. For this, we used Picea glauca 'Jean's Dilly', and the aforementioned Buxus 'Glencoe'.

We drew up the design and sent the specifications to the Voss House gardeners, and they immediately planted up the area. As winter was approaching, there wasn't time to establish the rest of the garden, but those will be coming soon. As gardening is excellent therapy both for the body and the mind, areas where patients can tend plants, and a greenhouse, are planned, as well as a round seating area for meetings and gatherings, with potentially, a firepit.

We love the look of the areas that have been implemented so far, and are looking very forward to completing the rest of the design!

Below you can see the before and after images of the garden.

For more information regarding the inspirational work done by the EDCMT, please visit and if you know anyone who could benefit by their work, please call +1 406-451-7370

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