The Benjamin Winter Garden, which features winter and early spring plantings, was created as a gift to the City of Erie as a memorial to Ben DeCrease, who passed away in early 2015. The intent is not only to honor Ben, but to provide a natural sanctuary for all who struggle with sadness, anxiety and depression. This winter garden at LEAF is only the third of its kind in the United States.
Ben was born in Erie and lived there until age 5, when his family moved to Seattle. Many happy hours were spent at the University of Washington Arboretum a few blocks from his home. A highlight of the UW Arboretum is the Witt Winter Garden, which showcases plants that are at their best when most other plants are asleep. The winter garden represents the promise of spring and renewed life amidst the dreariness of winter.
At LEAF, a quiet site was chosen on the northwest corner of the park, a terraced area overlooking the labyrinth below. $3,099 was raised from a Kickstarter campaign to create a unique natural asset for Erie and a healing space for all to share.