Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, October 23, 2010



 Mountain Views News Saturday, October 23, 2010 

One Of A Kind: Featuring unique homes & gardens and the people who create them Story and Photos By Chris Bertrand

There are times when 
everyone needs a 
place to recover, 
rejuvenate, meditate 
or just plain escape. 
City of Hope, a 
cancer treatment and 
research center, plus 
a graduate school in Biological Sciences has 
always made sure there are many places for 
patients, their families, staff, doctors and the 
public to do just that. 

 Sprinkled throughout the expansive, 114 
acre campus in Duarte, numerous gardens 
with a wide variety of themes provide much 
needed opportunities to sit, amble through, 
stop to smell the roses, or just to exhale. In 
a place where the patient’s “admission ticket” 
is the life-changing diagnosis of cancer, the 
road is often long, requiring the mindset of 
a marathon runner and frequent repair and 
re-balancing of the emotions and the spirit. I 
know. I faced it myself in 1996.

 Nearing a century of offering holistic 
treatment, City of Hope was created in 1912 
by garment workers in memory of a fellow 
worker who succumbed to “the consumption” 
or tuberculosis. The group gathered $1500 
to purchase the initial 10 acres of land here, 
in honor of that victim, who died without 
treatment. The facility opened the next year 
with a nurse and two patients. The following 
year, Dr. Clara Stone became the first 
physician on staff.

 Decades later, when treatment discoveries 
reduced the threat of TB, City of Hope 
expanded and refocused on cancer care and 
specialized research. Now an NCI-designated 
comprehensive cancer treatment center, COH 
also attempts to fast track new or refined 
cancer treatments to patients, by eliminating 
the “middle man” especially for rare cancers.

 Today, City of Hope offers a 179 bed cancer 
treatment hospital plus extensive outpatient 
treatment facilities, with hopes for additional 
tower of patient rooms in the future. 

Early on, the broad brush of patient care at 
City of Hope was applied to treating the 
whole being, the soul as well as the body. 
The “Golter Gate” adjacent to the rose 
garden, provides a beautiful depiction of the 
overarching theme of care here, with a quote 
from Samuel H. Golter, the center’s executive 
director from 1926-1953. It reads, “There is 
no profit in curing the body if in the process 
we destroy the soul.”

 The Ruth and Allen Ziegler International 
Garden of Meditation exhibits 1655 rose 
plants of 77 varieties in this 1.25 acre retreat, 
where a plaque suggests, “Nothing heals the 
spirit like the scent of a rose.” In a beautiful 
ritual, the best most perfect rose bud from this 
garden is chosen each day, to be displayed just 
inside the main entrance, where it’s become a 
symbol of hope for many.

 The owner of the Bordiers Nursery, husband 
of former patient Cynthia Ann Strohsahl, 
undertook a two year renovation and 
replanting of this garden in honor of his 
late wife. The new plantings have taken well 
and are maintained through donor support 
of approximately, $50,000 a year, including 
twice weekly attention from three caretakers. 

 About 82,000 people visit the various gardens 
at City of Hope every year. Special visitors to 
the rose garden include those attending the 
COH “anniversary celebrations”, where organ 
donors meet their recipients. 

 The Japanese Garden, dedicated in 1991, 
honors the late Kaoru Murakami, the 1981 
president of Lions Club International. It was 
designed in the very traditional manner by 
the now-retired, Cal Poly professor, Takeo 
Uesugi. He used mostly local materials, 
except for the blue-tiled viewing structure, 
which was built by an artisan from Japan, 
with wood shipped here for this purpose. 

 Utilizing traditional Japanese garden 
themes and traditions, ground was broken 
for the garden at a full moon with a special 
tea ceremony, and nearly every item in 
this garden is heavy with symbolism. Each 
element is meant to transmit a quiet message 
of its own. A bridge was constructed in the 
garden to represent a significant transition 
in the pedestrian’s life; a waterfall symbolizes 
the tumult of life, and an island shaped like a 
turtle symbolizes longevity, etc. 

by a busy 
site, live bamboo 
screens the 
buildings and 
the outside 
making it hard to 
believe that a few 
feet away, steel 
girders are being 
hoisted into place 
to build a multi-
story building.

 In the Patient and 
Family Resource 
Center, a cell 
phone-free mini 
garden allows 
people to spend 
a quiet moment 
away from the 
fray of medical 
decisions and 
ringing phones.

In a relatively 
small pocket 
garden, a very 
lifelike sculpture 
of Bernie Marcus, 
co-founder and 
CEO of Home 
Depot from 
1979-1997 is 
seated on a 

 Passersby have 
ample room to 
sit alongside him 
for a bite of lunch, or to take in the highly 
saturated color of the massive hot pink 

 Just to his right, a sculpted orange apron from 
Home Depot proclaims “Hi, I’m Bernie. I help 
in all departments.” Marcus was instrumental 
in the development and involvement of the 
home improvement industry partners at City 
of Hope. Some thirty other industry partners 
also regularly donate to City of Hope’s 

 You don’t have to be a patient or caregiver 
to enjoy the gardens (or the Biller Patient and 
Family Resource Center) here in Duarte. For 
more information, visit www.CityOfHope.
org or call 626-256-HOPE. The campus is 
located at 1500 East Duarte Road in Duarte.

City of Hope’s Gardens: Healing The Soul As Well As The Body

 Chris is taking a few week’s vacation. Please enjoy a few of her favorites while she’s away. 

Andy Bencosme, Managing Broker at 
CENTURY 21 Village Realty in Sierra 
Madre recently announced that the 5th 
Annual Sierra Madre Wine & Jazz Walk 
benefiting the City of Hope was very 
successful in raising contributions.

 CENTURY 21 Village Realty 
participated in the event for the 2nd 
year, by serving wine and food to 
hundreds of guests. Bencosme thanked 
the several sales associates who helped 
make the event a success. Emily Duggan, 
Nazee Rix, Tom James, Linda Johnson, 
Jackie Adaimy, Nathalie Marles, Denise 
Bernardin and Julie Muttavangkul all 
contributed to make the walk fun and a 
great success. 

 CENTURY 21 Village partnered with 
Ugo’s Cafe in Sierra Madre who provided 
the food at the office for the event. The 
event-goers loved the Eggplant and 
Artichoke Penne Pasta dish prepared 
by Ugo’s for the walk. It was a nice 
compliment to the Pinot Noir being 

 Bencosme said that the guests stopping 
in were very impressed with the festive 
décor, flowers and were surprised at 
how large the real estate office is. He 
said that the Village office was proud to 
sponsor and participate in such a great 
community event again and looks forward to continuing this great 
partnership for many years to come. 

 CENTURY 21 Village is an Award-Winning traditional Full Service 
Real Estate Brokerage that is family owned and operated since 
1986. All the friendly CENTURY 21 Village agents can be reached 
at 38 West Sierra Madre Blvd. 
in Sierra Madre, by telephone at 
626.355.1451 or online at


Century 21 Realtors: (l to r): Tom James, Emily Duggan, Denise Bernardin, Melody 
Rogers, Nazee Rix, Linda Johnson, Julie Muttavangkul and Andy Bencosme

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website:

MVNews this week:  Page 13