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That was the idea behind Hope In Bloom Inc., created by Dedham resident  Roberta Hershon after a friend lost her battle with breast cancer.

“We both liked to garden,” Hershon said, pausing from installing a garden for Bayridge Lane resident Patti Armstrong on Thursday morning. “When she got sick ... bringing her flowers, working in the garden, really made a huge difference in her outlook.”

When her friend died in 2005, Hershon knew she wanted to bring the love of gardening they both shared with others.

“When she passed away, I thought this was the best way to honor her memory,” Hershon said.

The first garden was dedicated in 2007. Since then, Hope in Bloom volunteers have planted 65 gardens. They’ve done 10 this year so far, and plan to build about 10 more.

Patti Armstrong of Bayridge Lane was diagnosed with breast cancer about two years ago. She underwent months of chemo and radiation treatment, and is recovering. Her sister saw a newspaper article about Hope in Bloom, and Armstrong called about getting help with her garden. A representative from the Duxbury Garden Club came to help with the design, and Thursday a team of volunteers descended on her home to re-landscape the area in front of her garage.

“It’s wonderful,” Armstrong said. “I can look out my window and see the flowers.”

Hershon said gardening has been proven to have health benefits, relieving stress and raising serotonin levels. She feels that cancer treatments can be more effective when the person is in good spirits.

“If you’re in a positive frame of mind ... it can only help,” she said. “[In a garden] you can just be there and decompress.”

Interested residents can donate to Hope in Bloom or sign up as a local volunteer via the group’s Web site, www.hopeinbloom.org.

 

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