Frequently Asked Questions
What is Therapeutic Horticulture?
Therapeutic horticulture is the purposeful use of plants and gardens to promote individual mental, emotional, physical, spiritual and intellectual well-being. Therapeutic horticulture as a process has been practiced in the United States since the 1970s.
What are the benefits of Therapeutic Horticulture?
Benefits of therapeutic horticulture include physical activity, relaxation and enjoyment, skill development, creative expression, sensory stimulation, intellectual and personal growth, social interaction, a sense of productivity and self-satisfaction and a spiritual connection with life. Therapeutic horticulture is low-cost, effective, and versatile in meeting therapeutic goals of both individuals and groups through task adaptation and environmental modification. Activities can be applied to almost all situations, indoors or outdoors-in homes, schools, hospitals, prisons, residential care facilities, and through virtual platforms.
Who benefits from Therapeutic Horticulture?
The short answer is, everyone! Engaging with plants and nature-based activities within the context of semi-formalized or formalized programming can benefit every population on numerous levels. At the same time, many therapeutic horticulture programs that are currently in operation focus their efforts on populations that tend to have less access to the natural world because of physical, cognitive, and/or mental health conditions, life events outside of their control, and other characteristics that prompt the need or desire for additional support. Some of these populations are as follows:
- Elders who live independently, in senior centers, nursing homes, retirement communities, and adult day-care facilities
- Children and teens in hospitals, school-based programs, residential treatment programs, and after-school programs
- People who have mental health concerns in residential, day treatment, rehabilitation programs, or who live independently
- People who have mobility and/or sensory impairments
- People who have intellectual or developmental disabilities
- People who have acquired traumatic brain injuries and/or cognitive function challenges
- Members of the general public who may or may not have ‘invisible disabilities’ that are not apparent to the eye, but profoundly affect the individual’s life
- Many others, including people who are incarcerated, hospice patients, trauma survivors, etc.
What kinds of facilities does the Garden have for these programs?
The Therapeutic Horticulture Demonstration Garden: Five 4-foot by 4-foot, 24-inch-high raised beds behind the Totten Center illustrate gardens designed for persons with limited mobility and reach. Gardeners who use wheelchairs, who have difficulty standing for long periods of time or who must stand upright are able to enjoy working in these gardens. The gardens are planted with heirloom vegetables and flowers varieties that have been handed down from generation to generation and help preserve our biodiversity.
The Mercer Reeves Hubbard Herb Garden: This “Garden of Plants and People” offers a garden for active and passive interaction, and includes a variety of herbs for sensory stimulation and seasonal interest, outdoor rooms and spaces for privacy and social interaction, safe and stable surfaces, raised beds, shade and seating, playful areas and natural distractions that elicit emotional responses, including, moving water, art, and animals. The Herb House is a re-creation of a wooden cottage and is used for indoor horticultural therapy activities.
James & Delight Allen Education Center: The “Growing Classroom” is 30′ by 36′, with abundant natural light and a 2-story window-wall that overlooks the woodlands and nature trails. The room is equipped for plant propagation, potting, and plant crafts, with accessible sinks; multiple working surfaces and storage areas for pullout bins of soil, pots, etc.; multiple storage cabinets and closets for craft materials and tool storage; and painted concrete floors. Sunlight provides an optimal space for plant growth. The room can accommodate groups of 30 people with chairs and different table configurations.
In addition, the Garden’s Piedmont Nature Trails and Display Gardens offer beautiful woodlands and additional plant collections for educational use.
Can I volunteer with Therapeutic Horticulture Program?
We are always open to entertaining the idea of welcoming volunteers! Depending on the season and which programs/projects are being facilitated at any given time, it is likely that we can find a way to utilize your time and talents. To inquire about this opportunity, please contact Emilee Weaver at email@example.com.
How can I support the Therapeutic Horticulture Program?
Therapeutic horticulture offers a unique opportunity to individuals, corporations and foundations to become involved in a program that meets important needs of people. We depend on your support to continue offering this engaging and creative program. Click the Support button below to make a donation to support new and innovative efforts in our Horticultural Therapy Program.