Horticultural Therapy

Goals:  To enable healing and rehabilitation for people with special needs; to improve physical and mental well-being through the use of plants and horticultural activities; to further the interest of members in this important endeavor.

Many Divisions and Branches practice Horticultural Therapy with different groups in schools, Nursing Homes, Group Homes and Assisted Living Facilities. An award winning program in Michigan is working at a Life Skills Center for the mentally challenged.  Another award winning program was with seniors at an Assisted Living Facility. These were shown at the Awards presentation at the 100th Anniversary National Meeting in Ambler, Pennsylvania.

Programs are planned and adapted to ages and abilities of the group. For most projects horticultural material is used with flowers, seeds, trees, pine cones, flowering shrubs, etc., to acquaint students with their environment. A lesson is given before each project to familiarize them with the name of flowers and materials used. Each project is a hands-on creation using their abilities. We assist only when needed.

The holidays may be observed for all groups. Projects made in any group are ready to take home that day to give as a gift to their family or place in their rooms.  Happiness and the sense of accomplishment bring big smiles.

A goal of  Trenton, Michigan  Branch has been to enrich the creativity of vocationally challenged teens and young adults. They help them connect with their surroundings by using natural materials in various projects such as bird feeders, miniature gardens and dainty Fairy doors.

They worked one year with three different age levels at three different locations in Wyandotte,  Michigan, Washington School with a lower grade level class, Jo Brighton Work Skills Center (ages 15 through 26) and an extension of Jo Brighton, a Life Options Class at Roosevelt High School. Greenhouse work with planting and care of flowers and plants may also create future jobs. They are now with a class of fifteen young students. This is the maximum number of students allowed in a classroom by the State.

At Nursing Homes or Assisted Living Facilities, if outdoor patios are available, raised bed gardening has proven very beneficial, as well as indoor raised bed gardens. Wheelchair and ambulatory  residents look forward to planting “their own flowers” and talking about their former home gardens.  They are proud to show  family and visitors their flowers.

If  you have a Branch Horticultural Therapy program and would like to share your project(s) on this website it would be very helpful to other Horticultural Therapy programs.

Trenton Branch project for Easter: Crushed egg shells dyed different colors to create a Mosaic, Sharleen Datini, Chair. Design, glued on a cardboard Bunny. Eggs are colored by the students in the classroom every Easter to be sent home in a decorated basket.

JoAnn Preston

Horticultural Therapy Coordinator