Nebraska August 05, 2018
The Secret Garden Walk In Nebraska That Will Make You Feel Like You’re In A Fairytale
There’s nothing quite as soothing and serene as walking through a beautiful garden full of generously blooming flowers. The close contact with nature has been shown to improve mood and may even have some physical health benefits. Walking through this particular garden in southeastern Nebraska may even help heal the soul, as well.
The tiny city of Humboldt in southeastern Nebraska is the home of the area's only cancer memorial garden.
The Southeast Nebraska Memorial Cancer Garden occupies one end of Humboldt Lake Park. It is 100% funded and maintained by volunteers.
The garden is a rather recent addition to Humboldt, having first been planned and planted in 2017. Humboldt resident Jan Wilhelm had been nurturing the idea for more than seven years, but the stars never quite aligned until early 2017.
After that, things moved rather quickly. Between January 2017 and the middle of summer the same year, volunteers removed old vegetation and cleaned up one side of the park. Wilhelm plotted out her ideas for flower beds, structures, and decorative touches. Locals pledged their time, materials, funds, and support.
By that summer, just a few months after gaining approval from the City Council, the Southeast Nebraska Cancer Memorial Garden was full of spectacular flowers, trees, shrubs...
...And little signs of hope, both literal and figurative. The community really pulled together to bring this beautiful vision to life; much of the funding came from a few dedicated citizens, and the structures and materials have been donated by local businesses.
The labor to maintain the garden - and there is considerable labor involved in a project of this size - is provided by Wilhelm and the rest of the Humboldt Garden Club. Even the local young folks throw their backs into the job to keep the garden looking neat, healthy, and lush even in the extremely hot summer weather.
This widespread dedication is evident in every square inch of this enchanting place. Walking the path through the garden brings a sense of connection to everyone who has given so generously to make it a reality.
As you stroll the garden path, you may also feel connected to the people to whom the garden is dedicated: anyone who has battled cancer, regardless of the outcome. They are represented here in every flower, in every brick, in each soft light that flickers on after sunset.
There is poetry here in every little leaf and petal; there's summer and sunshine in every stone and drop of water.
There's no admission fee to visit, and the garden is open to anyone and everyone. Whether you visit Humboldt just to see the garden or happen to stop by while you're passing through, it will leave its mark on you.
Every aspect of the garden has been thoughtfully designed to celebrate survivors, honor those who have passed on, and acknowledge everyone whose life has been touched by cancer in some way. It's a very special place that, once you visit, you'll never forget.
Visit the garden yourself at
the northeast entrance of Lower Lake Park at 1st and Longbranch in Humboldt. You can find out more about this unique garden – including how you can purchase a memorial brick in the name of your choice – on its website or in its Facebook group.
We’re so lucky to live in a place that is so very vibrant in the summer. To see more of Nebraska’s impressive public gardens, take a look at
this article from the archives.