On June 18, several employees of The Bellevue Hospital gathered on the east side of the hospital’s campus to admire the property’s prairie garden, the result of a restoration project led by Bob Beck of Bellevue.
To honor the time and research Bob and his wife Ellie have contributed to the success of the prairie, the garden was officially dedicated as The Bob and Ellie Beck Centennial Prairie and Wildflower Garden.
In 2016, The Bellevue Hospital Foundation worked with Beck, who is a Master Gardner and hospital volunteer, to help install a 13,000 square-foot section of the hospital’s lawn back to its native prairie condition.
“Back in 2016 we began thinking about having a project to commemorate our hospital’s 100th anniversary - something that could last well past our celebration year of 2017,” said Dennis Sabo, Director of The Bellevue Hospital Foundation.
“We came up with the idea of a native prairie grass and wildflower area that employees, patients and visitors alike could see every time they drove in to the hospital off of York Township Road 302. This type of project takes at least three years of prep and cultivation before the plants grow to maturity and produce flowers. We naturally turned to Bob Beck for his gardening expertise. Together with John Blakeman of Meadow Environments LLC and many other sources of information and inspiration, Bob transformed a plain grassy area into a beautiful garden for all to enjoy,” continued Sabo.
Now, in its third growing season, the prairie continues to grow and flourish. There are currently 16 different types of wildflowers and grasses in the garden. These plants support diverse bird, and beneficial pollinating insect populations that are so critical to the eco-system.
“I am so honored by the hospital’s gesture to dedicate the prairie to myself and Ellie. It has been wonderful to watch the property transform over the last few years. While it has been hard work to make sure the prairie succeeds, it has truly been a team effort. I would personally like to thank Dave Schmidt, hospital volunteer, and Julie Jarrett, hospital employee and Master Gardner, for all of their help maintaining the prairie,” said Bob Beck, who has dedicated over 100 volunteer hours to the prairie restoration project, and nearly 4,000 hours as a volunteer within the hospital.
“This has truly been a labor of love for Bob,” said Ellie Beck. “Gardening is his passion, and we are so happy to be able to give back to a hospital that means so much to us. The Bellevue Hospital has been a family to us, and we are so moved that now a part of us will remain with the hospital for many years to come,” continued Ellie, also a long-time hospital volunteer. Ellie has dedicated over 6,000 hours to the hospital as a volunteer.
To learn more about the prairie and the native wildflowers that were once abundant in this area, visit www.tbhfoundation.com/bob-ellie-beck-centennial-prairie-wildflower-garden.