The Zen Hospice Blog

The Bloom Project

January 9, 2018 | Mindful Caregiving, Model of Care, The Guest House

Zen Hospice Project announces a special partnership with The Bloom Project!


In October 2016, Heidi Berkman, founder of The Bloom Project, based in Portland, Oregon, began a collaboration with Zen Hospice Project to bring flower bouquets to Zen Hospice Project’s  Guest House Residents and their caregivers.

The Bloom Project donates fresh bouquets of flowers to local hospice and palliative care patients, demonstrating their mission to beauty, giving and joy during end of life care. Nearby florists and supermarkets donate the flowers they can no longer sell. Each Monday these “cast offs” are brought to the Guest House, where a team of volunteers clean and prune them. Then they are assembled into stunning arrangements that are brought to Guest House Resident’s rooms and can be found throughout the first floor.

Larisa Minerva, Bloom Project Coordinator and Volunteer Caregiver at Laguna Honda Hospital, trains and manages a team of six that assembles an average of ten bouquets per week. The blooms from the previous week’s bouquets are arranged into a beautiful mandala in the Guest House garden, providing the perfect conclusion to each week’s volunteer experience. Larisa is the owner of Bewilder Floral, and has opened a storefront in Berkeley this past Fall.

With 12 successful months of the collaboration with The Bloom Project, we are ready to expand to South Three, Laguna Honda Hospital’s 60-bed palliative ward.  This expansion will deliver more than 10 times the amount of bouquets created each week, and has the potential to expand the program by adding more volunteers and three or more additional floral partners.

My Life as a Caregiver – Hepzhibah Plotkin

January 2, 2018 | Mindful Caregiving, Model of Care, The Guest House

Death has long been a presence in Hephzi’s life. Her father, a child at the time, was on one of the very last Kinder transport out of Czechoslovakia in 1939. This was the last resort for the many Jewish families, hoping to send their children away from the terrors of the the Nazi regime. All […]

Lessons from Flowers

December 18, 2017 | Mindful Caregiving, Model of Care, The Guest House, The Guest House Kitchen, Volunteer Caregivers

By Larisa Minerva, Zen Hospice Project Volunteer A group of four women kneel down at a circular wooden table dispensing petals from a bowl into circular patterns. One starts the pattern with a center of peonies. Another adds an exterior border of ombre rose petals that fade from orange to blush. The others fill in […]

MaryEllen, Kitchen Caregiver

December 6, 2017 | Mindful Caregiving, Model of Care, The Guest House, The Guest House Kitchen

MaryEllen came to the Guest House after retiring from a long career in the hospitality industry.   She became interested in cooking as a child, playing chef in her best friend’s kitchen. While cooking grew into a serious hobby, for her career she set her sights on a profession of psychology.  During research in preparation for […]

A Caring Stranger

July 6, 2017 | Mindful Caregiving, Model of Care, The Guest House

His eyes and skin were bright yellow.  Shocking to see.  In his final hours, “Michael” was severely jaundiced, semi-conscious, twitching and jerking spasmodically, eyes rolling.  Only in his mid-40s, my age exactly, Michael died of liver and renal failure due to alcoholism.  Knowing only these tragic facts about him, I held his hand as he […]

The House at the End of the World

June 20, 2017 | General

First, the back story, B.J. Miller has found, the back story is unavoidable when you are missing three limbs. Miller was a sophomore at Princeton when, one Monday night in November 1990, he and two friends went out for drinks and, at around 4 a.m., found themselves ambling toward a convenience store for sandwiches. They […]