Holy Redeemer photos
Parishioners plant at the garden at Holy Redeemer Parish.
Holy Redeemer photos
Parishioners plant at the garden at Holy Redeemer Parish.
At Holy Redeemer Parish in North Portland, the parish and school garden has gone through a downsizing.

But turning unused garden space into grassy zones for picnics and outdoor classes is a good way to enhance health of parishioners, says Desirée Senffner, the parish nurse at Holy Redeemer. She has for several years had charge of the garden, seen as a way to grow healthy food and boost wellness.

In early April sunshine, Senffner's mind turns to turning soil. But now there will not be so daunting an amount of it. The two ends of the garden, which never were kept up by parishioners as well as the central zone, were planted with grass in the fall. One of the new grassy areas will get shade in the summer, perfect for outings on a hot day. Senffner imagines kids lounging there after shooting baskets and families bringing baskets of food to enjoy the garden view.

Holy Redeemer is promoting another quiet outdoor space for prayer and relaxation. A vegetated strip between the church and rectory gets little foot traffic and so is perfect for someone who wants to improve their physical, mental and spiritual health with some peace and quiet, Senffner says.