Hyder Family Hospice House

Hyder Family Hospice House, in Dover, NH, has served over 800 guests, plus their families and friends since Strafford County Master Gardeners Marie Van Guilder, Amy Van Splunder, and Lynn Aber began gardening there in 2016. Last year, Master Gardener Interns Karen Little and Ann Windsor joined in.

The site is currently nurtured by the three original MGs, plus several community volunteers, ranging in age from teens to octogenarians.

As part of the MG education mission, all plants are labeled, a pamphlet for each guest room is in the works, and we advocate organic practices.

This series of gardens – which everyone is welcome to visit – consist of two major areas: a public Welcome Garden at the Entrance and a more private garden to the rear. Effort has been made to create year-round interest in both spaces.

The circular front garden, dominated by a conifer and home to a fire hydrant, is perhaps most alive with color in Spring and Summer with flowering shrubs, bulbs, and perennials.

Many guests’ rooms face the rear garden, paths, patios, and meadows. Here, a tall purple bird house creates a focal point, thanks to Amy and her husband.

Wildlife forms an integral part of the Hyder landscape. The bird house was removed temporarily due to potential interest from bears. A baby moose trampled the Welcome Garden in 2017, deer dictate that we limit tulip plantings, etc. The most destructive element came from a human driving a semi through the Welcome Garden. Always something…

We think that all gardens are works in progress. This one thrives with generous support from many sources including: Wentworth Greenhouses, Gardeners’ Supply Company, American Daffodil Society, and Friends of Hyder House. Director of Hyder House Hospice, Dee Brown, says it “has made a world of difference” and a Catholic priest who spent his last days here considered it a preview of Paradise. We are humbled and encouraged — many thanks.

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If you want to learn more about Hyder Family Hospice House, you can find further information on their website or follow them or the Friends of Hyder Family Hospice House on Facebook.

Submitted by: Marie, Amy and Lynn, MGs since 2015


Strafford County Master Gardeners Association, part of the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension, is fifty+ gardeners strong, educating through gardening in Strafford County New Hampshire.
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2 Responses to Hyder Family Hospice House

  1. Oddment says:

    As one who has been blessed by the skillfulness and kindness of hospice, I can deeply appreciate the value of the gardens. What a beautiful gift to that place and that time of life.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jean Olson says:

    Lovely article. Love the photos.

    Liked by 1 person

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