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Garden Reveals Area for Love and Hope to Shine

One of the most exquisite, panoramic views at Friendship Botanic Gardens can be seen from the peninsula known as the Cancer Survivors’ Garden of Love and Hope. 

The garden’s planting scheme was developed in July of 2016 by Stuart Franzen, Secretary of the Board of Directors and local landscape architect. The garden was partially funded by Horizon Bank and was installed that fall by H&S Services. 

It serves as one of the premiere locations for contemplation, prayer and meditation on the 105-acres of meadows, wooded trails and cultivated garden areas. It is also one of several venues for intimate wedding ceremonies and can accommodate up to 100 guests.  

The peninsula is home to a snow-white gazebo and colorful plants ranging from chokeberries, fragrant sumac,and  geraniums, to cardinal flowers and catmint. It branches out into the gentle waters of Lake Lucerne, a spring-fed lake where muskrats, turtles and geese can often be found. 

“The plants were specified for their compact growth habit and extended period of seasonal interest,” said Franzen. “They were also selected for their ability to tolerate some inundation, as Lake Lucerne water levels fluctuate during wet periods.”

This garden is the former site of the “Theatre of Nations” stage, where world-famous performers entertained thousands in the mid-twentieth century with Shakespeare productions, opera performances and more. Majestic weeping willows envelope on the adjacent shore. 

Visitors may sit in the gazebo and admire beautiful blooms in the Persian Rose Garden from across the lake or transfix themselves on the breathtaking, 26-foot fountain that illuminates an array of colors throughout evening events, courtesy of the Barker Welfare Foundation.