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The Heart of BIDMC

Mike Trzcinski: Keeping BIDMC in Bloom

Mike Trzcinski

First impressions mean everything to Mike Trzcinski. For 21 years, he and his crew of landscapers have planted, pruned, weeded and watered the grounds outside Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to create a beautiful first impression for patients and visitors coming to the hospital.

"When the outside of our buildings is clean and attractive, it sets the tone of what to expect when you enter our buildings," says Trzcinski.

A gorgeous array of roses, day lilies and Asian lilies currently greets patients and visitors - thousands of blooming flora planted each year by Mike and the three other groundskeepers on staff at BIDMC. Come this fall, chrysanthemums, pumpkins and flowering kale will signal the change of season. And when the chilly days of December arrive, Trzcinski and his team will be decorating the trees with lights to bring some holiday cheer to the hospital.

"Hospitals can sometimes feel like a sterile environment, but gardens are natural and colorful and alive," he notes. "The flowers soften the brick and stone of the buildings and really seem to help people feel better. They can enjoy the view instead of worrying about themselves or their loved one. It gives them a little relief."

Mike got the gardening bug at a young age, helping his grandmother cultivate her garden. He says it's always gratifying to see all the work he puts into prepping the grounds and planting bulbs in the fall come to fruition when the flowers bloom in the spring.

"It's always something a little different each season," explains Trzcinski. "I think I'd get bored if I were doing the same thing all year round. "

But his job isn't all pretty flowers. When the seasons change and the snowflakes begin to fall, Mike and company are on call 24/7 keeping the sidewalks clear and safe with 4 riding tractors and a Bobcat front-end loader. A true New Englander, Mike says it's all part of the job.

"It's kind of fun actually and at least it's not year round," he laughs.

Beyond watching his hard work blossom into something beautiful, Mike enjoys spending his workday outdoors and getting a little workout walking around both east and west campus at BIDMC and even some of the green space along the Riverway behind the hospital.

"We get a good amount of exercise, especially when we're mowing the grass," Trzcinski notes.

Mike says the hardest part of landscaping an urban hospital is handling all the foot traffic. The thousands of patients, visitors and staffers coming to the hospital each day tend to wear out the green grass, and occasionally even walk right through the beautiful flower beds Mike and the landscaping crew spend hours creating. But it's the little details no one even notices, like picking up all the debris that collects on the curbs, that make his work stand out.

"We have a small street-sweeper I take out early each morning before the rest of the grounds crew arrives. It makes a big difference," he notes.

But one of Mike's favorite "unofficial" parts of the job is as hospital ambassador, interacting with the many hospital staffers, patients and visitors who compliment his handiwork. Often he is the first point of contact for many people who come to BIDMC.

"It's nice when I'm out there and people are looking for buildings and I'm the first employee they see," says Trzcinski. "I enjoy helping them find their way around."

Ironically, Trzcinski says he doesn't have enough to time to garden at home, but he can offer some gardening advice.

"Gardening should be enjoyable, so don't worry if your attempts at planting don't work at first," he recommends. "Try again until you find what does work for your yard or garden. Have fun with it."

Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.

Posted July 2010