HARVARD -- On a hot sunny day in July, nine members of the Pepperell Garden Club enjoyed the morning strolling along the beautiful gardens at the Virginia Thurston Healing Garden in Harvard.

The many gardens consist of local trees, flowering shrubs and fauna. Water pools and flowing fountains dot the trails that visitors can meander through, past the beautiful landscape plantings that vibrate with color and bustle with pollinators and birds.

The Virginia Thurston Healing Garden is an educational nonprofit organization dedicated to providing integrative cancer care through therapeutic services, educational programs and a healing environment for all people with a cancer diagnosis. The center provides wellness education and support to promote cancer prevention for the community at large.

The gardens are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday. The public is welcome to stroll the gardens during those hours. The gardens are five minutes from both Route 2 and Interstate 495 at 145 Bolton Road.

The exquisite gardens that surround the Healing Garden center have been carefully designed by professionals who have studied the development and creation of healing gardens around the world. The gardens have been lovingly installed and maintained, without harmful chemicals, by a group of volunteer Healing Gardeners.

This property was not always a healing garden.


Ginny and Bill Thurston's 40-year-old, eight-acre garden property was very well known in town and in gardening circles for its beauty and unusual configuration. Ginny found deep pleasure in what she called "my little garden."

When she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1993, she spent even more time in the garden. It was a place of respite from the rigors of treatment. Ginny explored and practiced several complementary therapies to aid in her healing, and after learning to meditate, she and Bill added a lovely, small meditation garden to the property. Sadly, Ginny died in 1999. Knowing the garden had been such solace for Ginny, and wanting to help others with breast cancer, the Virginia Thurston Healing Garden was created.

People may join the Healing Garden at any point in their cancer journey. Any time is the right time.

The Healing Garden offers a variety of alternative therapies that assist the immune system: acupuncture, massage, reiki, shiatsu, Qi Gong, Jin Shin Jyutsu, reflexology and therapeutic touch. The art of body/energy practice is the fundamental core of several different, yet related modalities, which allow for the natural opening of the Qi (or chi) of the body's immune system. This practice promotes a sense of well-being and ultimate relaxation.

Rather than anxiety, there is a shift towards calmness, steadiness and self-confidence. All body/energy services are offered on a sliding scale fee.

The Healing Garden is a gem more people should learn about.

For information, contact the Virginia Thurston Healing Garden at 978-456-3532.