SSM St. Clare Hospital is the site of one of the nicest native Missouri prairies in the metropolitan Saint Louis area. Who knew? Well, employees, patients and guests certainly know about it. It completely surrounds the campus, offering a beautiful, serene setting in the midst of a very busy urban hospital.
Twenty three acres of native grasses and wildflowers are alive and in tune with nature. After all, these are same plants that inhabited the Missouri countryside for thousands of years – enriching the soil and nurturing our native animals and insects. In a brief walk through the prairie, you will see switchgrass, big bluestem, indiangrass, little bluestem and many other native Missouri grasses. And wildflowers are abundant: the orange flowering butterfly milkweed, the pink flowering swamp milkweed, baptisia, coreopsis, rudbeckias, rattlesnake master and many others. You also will notice pollinating insects moving from plant to plant as they nourish themselves. Goldfinches soon will be eating the plentiful coneflower seed heads and butterflies will be sipping nectar from the flowers. Flora that grew in Missouri centuries ago have returned to reinvigorate the campus.
Our established prairie brings beauty, habitat and a place to rekindle our connection with nature. It is sustainable and boasts a very low cost for maintenance. It requires just one mowing per year and no irrigation, fertilizers or pesticides.
If you haven’t enjoyed our Healing Garden, please stroll by and enjoy this amazingly peaceful and beautiful setting. Native coneflowers are incredibly abundant as are the bright yellow rudbeckias that shine like the sun. These native wildflowers are blended in with other traditional plants to remind us of the ‘healing presence of God’, which is an important part of our SSM Mission Statement.