Laura Bush attends ceremony for new center at Houston Methodist Hospital

HOUSTON – Former first lady Laura Bush attended the opening of the Center for Health and Nature at Houston Methodist Hospital on Wednesday.

Bush and her organization, Texan By Nature, partnered with Houston Methodist Hospital and Texas A&M University to create a garden that will connect Methodist patients with nature.

“There's a gap in research regarding what nature factors lead to increased health,” said Bush.

To fill that gap, a healing garden will be built on the rooftop of Methodist. Studies tout the benefits of connecting patients with the outdoors.

“Additional data shared showed 30 minutes outside leads to a 7.5 percent lower incidence of depression,” said Bush.

With this center, more research can be done at Methodist.

“We believe a healing garden can help demonstrate, from a scientific perspective, the ability of nature to play a vital role in promoting and maintaining the health and healing process,” said Dr. Marc Boom, the CEO of Houston Methodist Hospital.

Bush also took time at the hospital to visit her father-in-law, George H.W. Bush, who is recovering from an infection.

“I just had the opportunity to drop by and see my father-in-law, who is upstairs here now,” Laura Bush said. “President Bush, at age 93, is doing well and he's in good spirits.”

Laura Bush also shared her own story of the value of good health and enjoying the outdoors.

It was about her late mother-in-law, Barbara Bush.

“In Maine, Bar walked her dogs on the beach every day,” Laura Bush said. “Then, a couple of summers ago, she walked with a walker. And then, last summer, she couldn't walk on the beach so she wildly drove her golf cart around Walkers Point.”

There was a competition among Texas A&M landscape and architecture students to determine who would design the healing garden. The chosen design features walking paths of different lengths throughout the garden.