Horticultural Therapy

Allotment Therapy: More empirical evidence on the salutary benefits of gardening

    Warrenville Lakes Homeowners Community Garden. Photo by Shawna Coronado, www.shawnacoronado.com

Warrenville Lakes Homeowners Community Garden. Photo by Shawna Coronado, www.shawnacoronado.com

Speaking of allotment gardens (see our 1/13 post about Charlie Hopkinson’s photography of allotment gardens), here’s an interesting study:

30 allotment gardeners were assigned to do a stressful task (not related to gardening). Immediately after, half of the gardeners worked in their own allotment plot and half read indoors, both for 30 minutes. With both groups, cortisol (a stress indicator) and self-reported stress levels went down, but they decreased significantly more in the group that gardened. I think I’m going to build me a greenhouse…

And here’s a moving blog by someone who struggles with depression and finds solace in her allotment garden. The blog is Allotment Therapy: A personal view of Ecotherapy, and the post is “The Wisdom of Plants.”

Stay tuned for another article on this topic, coming very soon!

Full abstract (link to the Journal of Health Psychology website to access the abstract and to buy the article): Stress-relieving effects of gardening were hypothesized and tested in a field experiment. Thirty allotment gardeners performed a stressful Stroop task and were then randomly assigned to 30 minutes of outdoor gardening or indoor reading on their own allotment plot. Salivary cortisol levels and self-reported mood were repeatedly measured. Gardening and reading each led to decreases in cortisol during the recovery period, but decreases were significantly stronger in the gardening group. Positive mood was fully restored after gardening, but further deteriorated during reading. These findings provide the first experimental evidence that gardening can promote relief from acute stress.

Full citation: Van Den Berg, Agnes and Custers, Mariëtte H.G. (2011). “Gardening Promotes Neuroendocrine and Affective Restoration from Stress.” Journal of Health Psychology, Vol. 16, No. 1, pp. 3-11.

Landscapes for Healing: Resources for Veterans

Veteran and sunflowers. Photo courtesy of Defiant Gardens.

Photo courtesy of Defiant Gardens

Speaking of veterans (see yesterday’s post. “Veterans Day, 2010 – Memorials as Healing Landscapes“), many who come home alive require medical treatment for both physical and emotional problems. Steve Mitrione, a doctor as well as a landscape architect, explains that more people are surviving because of body armor and better medical technology, but the injuries are more severe. The number of veterans returning with traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, is alarming. Also alarming is the number of veterans returning with post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Current studies estimate that about 20% of active duty and 42% of reserve duty soldiers require mental health services for PTSD. The VA system and the military are beginning to reach out to landscape architects and horticultural therapists as one strategy for addressing PTSD. Several students have contacted the TLN this year looking for information because they want to write their masters thesis on the subject Here are some good resources to tap into, but what’s still lacking is research. If we are to create spaces and programs for people (veterans and others) with PTSD based on the evidence, we need the evidence. If you know of any published studies, please let us know! Leave a comment on this blog, or contact us through the TLN website.

Returning Home: The Veterans Therapeutic Garden Project,” by Dr. Steven Mitrione, Associate ASLA  – Article written for the ASLA Healthcare and Therapeutic Design Professional Practice Network’s Spring 2010 Newsletter. “Given the challenges facing the VA system, we believe that therapeutic gardens have the potential to alleviate suffering, provide for recovery and therapy, enhance the veteran’s experience of care, and reduce costs.” This article is really really worth reading. Chock full of good information and ideas. A good place to start.

Therapeutic Garden Design and Veterans Affairs: Preparing for Future Needs.” – Joint conference with the Acer Institute and the ASLA Healthcare and Therapeutic Design Professional Practice Network in Miami, FL, 2005 – Click here to link to the conference proceedings.

Acer Insitute’s list of Therapeutic Gardens at Veterans Healthcare Facilities – This list is in development. If you know of a facility or program (especially if it’s a good one!), you can sign in and add to the list.

Gardening Leave (www.gardeningleave.org) – A UK charity founded by Anna Baker Cresswell for ex-Servicemen and women with PTSD and other mental health issues. The goal is to combat stress through horticultural therapy activities – growing fruit and vegetables – in a walled garden setting, where people feel safe and protected. The program has been developed in accordance with plans by Combat Stress (Ex-Services Mental Welfare Society).

Gardening Leave commissioned an evaluation of their  project, which you can link to on their website. The title of the report is “An Evaluation of the Gardening Leave Project for Ex-Military Personnel with PTSD and Other Combat Related Mental Health Problems,” by Jacqueline Atkinson, Professor of Mental Health Policy at Glasgow University June 2009.

VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System Veterans Garden – Nestled in the heart of Los Angeles, this unique 15-acre garden is operated by vets of the VA Hospital as part of the Horticulture Therapy Program. The Vets’ Garden is open to the public and offers a beautiful and tranquil escape from the congestion and concrete of the city. Established in 1986 as a work therapy program, the garden continues to run as a fully self-sufficient business, selling fresh-grown, pesticide-free produce to individual customers and several local restaurants.

Farmer Veteran Coalition – “Farmers helping veterans, veterans helping farmers.”

Veterans Farm – The veterans farm was developed to unite disabled veterans and to help them overcome disabilities such as (PTSD) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and (TBI) Traumatic Brain Injuries through “Horticulture Therapy”. Through different programs, veterans will have a chance to “Earn While They Learn.”

Veteran Homestead Victory Farm – Victory Farm, is a supportive housing program located on an eighty acre working organic vegetable farm in New Hampshire. This program offers a lifestyle change to the homeless veteran who has not been successful transitioning from residential treatment programs to independent or transitional housing.

Defiant Gardens, by Kenneth Helphand – The book gives a historical view of “…gardens created in extreme or difficult environmental, social, political, economic, or cultural conditions. These gardens represent adaptation to challenging circumstances, but they can also be viewed from other dimensions as sites of assertion and affirmation.” The website, also called Defiant Gardens, brings us up to date, with gardens in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, and even Guantanamoinformation and images of prison gardens, community gardens, and . The most recent post is the text from a New York Times article on gardens in Afghanistan.

Also see our blog post “Defiant Gardens” and Other Resources for Veterans from last November.

A Place to Call Home: A Landscape Master Plan to Honor the Veterans at the  Chelsea Soldiers’ Home, Chelsea, Massachusetts,” by Suzanne Higham Independent Project Thesis fora  Graduate Certificate in Landscape Design at the Landscape Institute of  The Boston Architectural College (note: I just received this thesis yesterday and have not yet had a chance to put it on the TLN website. Please check back soon).

So to reiterate, the big missing piece is RESEARCH.
Rick Spalenka, a landscape architect who is also a registered nurse and treated veterans with PTSD in a psychiatric nursing program, noticed two things: First, that PTSD is much higher in women vets than in men, often stemming from sexual abuse either before or during service. And second, that outdoor smoking areas are extremely important places for social gathering and connection. Designing areas for smoking into a garden? Some people might be appalled by this idea, but if that’s what gets someone out of their hospital bed and connecting with other people, maybe it’s not such a bad thing. “Smoking activity and smoking privileges have therapeutic qualities despite seeming so contrary to health. You remove smoking privileges from psych patients you will face hostility and anger. You prohibit smoking activity from med/surg patients and you face increased anxiety. The most popular meeting place for Vet patients is the smoke shack. They socialize and get physical activity. I used to tell my patients ‘the only one who ever got better in bed was Casanova.  Get out of bed.'”

Please help us add to this list of resources. Leave a comment on this blog, or contact us through the TLN website.

Veterans at Gardening Leave

Photo courtesy of Gardening Leave

To Rake or Not to Rake? Good Question!

Autumn leaves photo by Allison Vallin, www.atastefulgarden.com

Photo courtesy of Allison Vallin, www.atastefulgarden.com

Well, it’s November, and if your yard looks anything like mine, the leaves are starting to pile up. So, do you rake them, do you let them be, does a landscaping crew come with their leaf-blowers and haul them away? This year, I’ve seen several articles suggesting that gardeners not rake. Leaves make excellent mulch and they attract and protect all kinds of beneficial wildlife. And they’re free! Personally, as I live under two giant white oak trees, I feel the need to rake some (in fact, in Ellen Sousa’s recent blog post “Leave those leaves!” in which she advocates for not raking, she makes an exception for oak leaves). Carole Brown of Ecosystem Gardening and co-founder of Beautiful Wildlife Garden posted a good “to rake or not to rake” discussion that touches on many reasons why people do and don’t (and even should and shouldn’t) rake: “I am the Lorax, I Speak for the Leaves.”

Autumn leaves photo by Allison Vallin www.atastefulgarden.com

Photo courtesy of Allison Vallin www.atastefulgarden.com

A recent article in Fine Gardening (“Improve Your Soil by Raking Less“) provides lots of ideas about how to turn your leaves into gold. For leaves on the lawn, you can run them over with a mulching mower. Rather than smothering it, the organic matter and nutrients in the leaves will improve turf quality. You can rake leaves into garden beds to create mulch that both protects and feeds. You can even build planting beds with leaves. I highly recommend all three of the above-mentioned online articles for information and inspiration.

If you do choose to rake, think of it as an exercise opportunity rather than a burdensome chore. Who needs the gym when you’ve got leaves! Raking is one of many gardening activities that, if done for 30 minutes a day, can increase metabolic rate, reduce blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, tone muscles, improve flexibility, and even improve cardiovascular fitness – enough to reduce the risk of heart disease and type-2 diabetes. Raking burns approximately 375 calories per hour (for comparison, jogging burns about 430 calories per hour).

Autumn leaves photo by Allison Vallin www.atastefulgarden.com

Photo courtesy of Allison Vallin www.atastefulgarden.com

Many horticultural therapy programs include raking, both for the physical and psychological benefits. It’s something most of us have done at some point in our lives, and it often brings back fond memories (mine are a lot like these pictures, jumping into and playing in big piles of leaves).

So if you’ve got leaves, the decision is yours what to do with them. But whether you rake them up, leave them be (sorry, couldn’t resist) or something in between, try to think of them as yet another gift from the garden.

Many thanks to Allison Vallin and her lovely blog, A Tasteful Garden, for the photos.

Garden Designers Roundtable: Thoughts and Evidence on Therapy and Healing in the Garden

I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.
~ John Burroughs

Autumn crocus, The High Line, New York City. Photo by Naomi Sachs

This blog post comes courtesy of the Garden Designers Roundtable, who invited me to be their first-ever guest blogger. I’m honored and excited to be participating in today’s roundtable discussion, the theme of which is “Therapy and healing in the garden.” All photos are by Naomi Sachs.

Some Thoughts and Evidence on Therapy and Healing in the Garden

The idea that gardens and landscapes foster good health seems like a no-brainer, especially to gardeners and garden/landscape designers/architects. It’s like telling Newton that apples really do fall down. Sadly, though I’m preaching to the choir here today, many people still haven’t grasped this concept, and we can find all too many examples of landscapes that are anything but healing (picture, if you will, a parking lot at the mall…). At the Therapeutic Landscape Network, we focus a lot of our attention on the design of hospitals and other healthcare environments because – oddly enough – they tend to be so far behind as places that facilitate health and well-being on a holistic level. We’re getting there, but we still have a long way to go.

For today, since a big part of the TLN’s mission is to connect designers and health and human service providers with the research they need to design beautiful, nurturing, successfully restorative spaces, I thought I’d highlight some of the evidence that we’ve blogged about over the years. In this case, research that “proves” that being in and interacting with nature is, indeed, restorative for body and soul. This research is important because it’s positive ammunition. It’s what makes CEOs, and policy makers, and grant funders and our clients sit up and take notice (and change the laws and sign the checks!). I’ve provided a one-sentence summary of the research, with the title of each related blog post that you can link to for more information and full citations.

But first, for background, the seminal ‘View Through a Window’ study:
In 1984, Roger Ulrich studied two sets of patients, both in the same hospital, both recovering from the same surgery. The key difference: One group’s view from their window was of nature – grass, trees and sky; the other’s was of a brick wall. Ulrich found that the patients with the nature view complained less, required less pain medication, and made a faster recovery. Here, finally, was empirical proof of the salutary benefits of nature. Ulrich’s paper, published in the journal Science, got the attention of the medical community and legitimized the field of evidence-based design. Evidence-based design being the use of quantitative, and sometimes qualitative, research to design environments that facilitate health and improve outcomes. Since then, hundreds of studies have been published. Some, like those cited below, continue to demonstrate that contact with nature is good for people; some explore how people benefit, and what conditions are best for specific groups, needs, and situations (e.g., children; seniors with dementia; gardens for people who are immuno-compromised).

Innisfree, Millbrook, NY

The evidence since ‘View Through a Window.’ A few good examples:

Trees, greenery, and other vegetation make neighborhoods safer and more desirable. They even play a role in boosting students’ grades and reducing the risk of domestic violence.
See “Healing the Neighborhood: The Power of Gardens.”

Plants in an office setting improve worker satisfaction, creativity, and productivity.
See “I Demand Satisfaction! The Role of Nature in Job Satisfaction.”

As little as 10 minutes spent outside improves attention in children with ADHD; neighborhoods with more green space improve body mass index of children and youth.
See “Nature Deficit Disorder: Getting Kids Outdoors.” For many more resources on nature-based learning and play for kids, visit our Get Out and Play! page.

Uma, picking serviceberries. Photo by Naomi Sachs

Gardening improves health and happiness, including reducing heart rate and blood pressure.
See “Horticultural Therapy in the Wall Street Journal.” Horticultural Therapy is “a professional practice that uses the cultivation of plants and gardening activities to improve the mental and physical health of its participants,” (definition courtesy of the Horticultural Therapy Institute). Hort therapists often work with occupational and physical therapists in a garden setting; gardens that are designed specifically for this kind of therapy are called rehabilitation gardens. For more information, see the horticultural therapy page on our website and for a really inspiring post about the power of horticultural therapy, see A Life Worth Living: The Garden as Healer.

Exposure to nature makes people more altruistic and generous.
It’s true, Nature Makes Us Nicer!

Autumn leaves. Photo by Naomi Sachs

I hope that now that you’ve been introduced to the Therapeutic Landscapes Network Blog, you’ll stay awhile and read some of our older posts, and that you’ll visit us again for new ones (you can also sign up to have posts emailed to you). I welcome your comments, which can often lead to great dialog on the TLN Blog.

Many thanks again to the Garden Designers Roundtable for the invitation and warm welcome as a guest blogger. Visit the GDRT website (gdrt.wordpress.com), or click on the links below, to read other bloggers’ posts (and to see some great pictures) – it’s an excellent group, and each blogger has something interesting to say on the topic.

Genevieve Schmidt, North Coast Gardening: Designing a Landscape for Colorblind People
Ivette Soler, The Germinatrix: Plant a Garden, The Life You Save Might Be Your Own
Jenny Petersen, J Petersen Garden Design: Therapeutic Spaces
Lesley Hegarty & Robert Webber, Hegarty Webber Partnership: Homage to Ariadne: Labyrinthine Therapy
Rochelle Greayer, Studio “G”: A Tale About What Makes a Garden Healing

“A Running, Hollering, Skipping, Playing Place,” guest blog post by Addie Hahn

Topiary at Legacy Emanuel Children’s Hospital Garden. Photo by Max Sokol

Legacy Emanuel Children’s Hospital Garden, Portland, OR Photo by Max Sokol

In the following interview, Teresia Hazen answers questions by Addie Hahn, a writer who is also working towards her Child Life credential, about the Legacy Emanuel Children’s Hospital Garden, which won the American Horticultural Therapy Association Therapeutic Garden Award in 2000. Below are excerpts from the interview, and images of the garden by Max Sokol. To read the full interview, visit the Therapeutic Landscapes Network website.

Teresia Hazen, M.Ed., HTR, QMPH is the Coordinator of Therapeutic Gardens and Horticultural Therapy for Legacy Health System in Oregon.

“A Running, Hollering, Skipping, Playing Place: A Conversation with Teresia Hazen on the Legacy Emanuel Children’s Hospital Garden.”

AH: Could you briefly describe the design process that led to the creation of the Emanuel Children’s Hospital garden?

TH: We did our design work in 1996. Then it was a three-stage process to develop all this, between 1997-99. Two major elements we wanted to address in this garden for kids and their siblings were a therapeutic focus and a restorative focus, or unstructured, independent time. To develop our list of therapeutic requirements, we needed to involve the clinicians. And in these meetings, we needed to hear about the dreams, the aspirations and the clinical goals of each team. We had Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language Therapists, Child Life, Spiritual Care, Managers, Horticultural Therapists and our Landscape Architect. All of those people had very specific goals and needs for the garden setting.

The second reason we have the garden is to provide a restorative setting for every patient, visitor and employee 24-7. So we had to be thinking about some of the elements that were needed for that. One of those turned into the 3-5 niche spots, or bump-out areas where a small group can gather to socialize, provide emotional support or grieve together.

Legacy Emanuel Children’s Hospital Garden, Portland, OR Photo by Max Sokol

Benches provide a place for privacy and social support. Photo by Max Sokol

AH: What are a few of the ways the garden is used clinically now?

TH: Physical Therapists needed walking rails for adults and for children, as well as some inclines, because you have to learn to walk in settings like this first if you’re going to go back out in to community settings.

Speech and Language Therapists needed items that would lead and encourage children around the garden. So, having a curved pathway encourages them now to go, “What’s around that corner?” A dragonfly sculpture in a tree might be something to watch for and “tell us when you see it.” The dragonfly starts the communication task.

We needed places where kids could maneuver—inclines, declines and a variety of surfaces that they need to manage while working on mobility skills. Kids ride their trikes and scooters for therapy, and we even have a Seguay now that kids with vestibular disorders ride to work toward meeting their treatment goals.

Yellow Brick Road, Legacy Emanuel Children’s Hospital Garden. Photo by Max Sokol

The "yellow brick road" pathway winds through the garden. Photo by Max Sokol

AH: What do you suggest for hospitals that may not have the funds to hire a Horticultural Therapist, or where staff may at first be resistant to the idea of bringing a professional on board? Are there ways a Child Life Therapist or other staff member could slowly introduce staff to the idea?

TH: Any therapist can add nature-based activities. They could say, “We’re going to integrate nature into our programming.” Anyone can do that. Integrate what you can manage. Consider a 12’ X 12 niche. Do only what you can maintain, and maintain with quality year-round. Therapeutic gardens need to be four season environments.

AH: Can you talk about what you believe is behind the growing interest in incorporating ‘healing gardens’ or smaller-scale, natural elements into hospitals and other healthcare environments?

TH: Programs everywhere are looking for cost-effective ways to help client therapeutic programs do their work most efficiently and effectively.  We’re all working leaner these days–a reflection of the economic setting. These gardens provide choices for all therapeutic programs to help patients connect in whatever ways they need to to aid rehabilitation and recovery and discharge as soon as possible. These gardens are a coping resource and if well designed, can assist patients in their treatment and recovery.

We can also provide that kind of care and honoring even to families that have a baby or a child who is in hospice. The clinical team has assisted parents in supporting the child’s death in the garden. Two nurses will come with the parents. Parents initiate this request and they want their child to experience the fresh air or the sunshine before they die.  Nature is a place of spirituality for many family groups.

Clematis and roses at Legacy Emanuel Children’s Hospital Garden. Photo by Max Sokol

Clematis and roses at Legacy Emanuel Children’s Hospital Garden. Photo by Max Sokol

Addie Hahn is a freelance writer who is also working on obtaining her Child Life certification. She lives in West Linn, Oregon and can be reached at addiethahn@me.com.

Max Sokol is a freelance photographer based in Portland, Oregon. He can be reached at maxsokol@mac.com

Many thanks to Addie, Max, and Teresia for this excellent post! To read the full interview, visit the Therapeutic Landscapes Network’s References page.

A Life Worth Living: The Garden as Healer

Monarch Butterfly by Henry Domke

Monarch butterfly photo by Henry Domke, www.henrydomke.com

I gave a “walking talk” yesterday on Restorative Landscapes at the Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries in Beacon, NY. One of the participants, Mike, took the 1-hour train up from New York City, a beautiful ride along the Hudson River. Ten years ago, Mike lay in a hospital bed at NYU Medical Center, recovering from 12 hours of surgery after a traumatic brain injury. As I was driving him back to the train station after the talk, I asked him if he was familiar with the Enid Haupt Glass Garden at the Howard Rusk Institute, which is on the NYU campus. He most certainly was, and he shared the following story with me:

“After my surgery, I couldn’t do much of anything; like a stroke victim, I could barely talk or move. I had been a successful electrical engineer who flew all over the world for work. Now, suddenly, I was a 50 year old man who couldn’t do even the most ordinary tasks. It was dawning on me that I might forever be dependent on others’ care. That suddenly I had become a burden to my family and friends. I was depressed and suicidal. I started “looking at windows funny.” All the more depressing was the fact that even if I wanted to, I probably didn’t even have the capability to take my own life. As part of my rehabilitation, I started going down to the Glass Garden for horticultural therapy. They had us plant little seeds in soil, and water those seeds. Soon after, shoots began to emerge, to grow into little plants. And my life began to be worth something. I could grow something, care for and nurture it. Something relied on me; I was not just a dependent. It was a 180- degree turn. Life was again worth living.”

“In Our Nature,” 2010 AHTA National Conference – Early bird registration ends 9/1!

Fountain at Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital Rooftop Therapeutic Garden

Fountain at Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital Rooftop Therapeutic Garden (Photo by Naomi Sachs)

The American Horticultural Therapy Association (AHTA) is teaming up with the Chicago Botanic Garden for this year’s annual conference, on October 13-16. The 2010 theme is “In Our Nature,” and will feature keynote speakers Gene Rothert and Linda Emanuel; tours of HT programs and gardens and exemplary school gardens; two pre-conference workshops; and a terrific lineup of education and poster sessions. I’ve gotten to visit Chicago twice in the last year, including the Chicago Botanic Garden and the Schwab garden pictured above (designed by Gene Rothert and Martha Tyson, and also on one of the AHTA conference tours), and this city is really worth the trip; SO many great gardens, and Chicago’s downtown is vibrant and exciting. I attended last year’s AHTA conference in Pasadena and learned a ton while meeting a whole lot of great people. AHTA and CBG both do it right, so this year is sure to be fantastic.

Early-bird registration for In Our Nature ends on 9/1 (which is in less than a week!), so sign up now. More information and registration on the AHTA website.

Upcoming Events with the Horticultural Therapy Institute

Continuing in our series on upcoming events, we have two with the Horticultural Therapy Institute:

On 9/1, a free webinar, “Programming that Enhances Growth.” See the HTI website for more details.

Leaders in Horticultural Therapy Education. In September and November, Leaders in Horticultural Therapy classes will be held in California, Colorado and Michigan.

Learn how to combine a passion for gardening and helping people through the innovative field of horticultural therapy. Join students from across the country to learn more by enrolling in Introduction to Horticultural Therapy this fall in one of three locations.

At the non-profit, Horticultural Therapy Institute (HTI), our mission is to provide education and training in HT to those new to, or experienced with, the practice of using gardening and plants to improve the lives of others. Our faculty is dedicated to teaching best practices with passion, and our past students form a community of learners that become horticultural therapy practitioners in a variety of settings. Take one class or the full certificate program and see how our curriculum can meet your needs. Students from a variety of disciplines find this program enriches their current vocation and can initiate a new career direction.
Horticultural Therapy Institute

Elkus Ranch: Half Moon Bay, CA
Sept. 23-26, 2010

Anchor Center for Blind Children: Denver, CO
Nov. 4-7, 2010

University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens: Ann Arbor, MI
Nov. 11-14, 2010

Class cost is $750 or $600 for full-time college students. Remaining certificate classes will be held in Colorado and California. Students can earn college credit from Colorado State University in order to meet the AHTA professional standards. For full class descriptions, schedules and enrollment forms go to our web site at www.htinstitute.org or call 303-388-0500.

AHTA Conference Request for Proposals – Due 4/15!

Photo of wild plum by Henry Domke

Proposals for this year’s American Horticultural Therapy Association’s conference, In Our Nature, are due soon – April 15th – so if you have something to say and you think others should hear it, get busy and submit your proposal. Last year’s conference was excellent – great speakers and poster presentations, wonderful tours, lots of networking opportunities. And this year, October 13-16, it’s in collaboration with the Chicago Botanic Garden. Click HERE to link to the AHTA conference page, where you can download the RFP.

Oh, and the Therapeutic Landscapes Network just sent out its March/April e-newsletter. It’s only available to members on our mailing list, so if you’d like to join (membership is free), click HERE. Thanks, and happy reading!

Hort Therapy in the Wall Street Journal…and Call for Papers!

Legacy Emanuel Children's Garden, mentioned in the article

In the Wall Street Journal today, a great article about horticultural therapy programs: “When Treatment Involves Dirty Fingernails,” by Anne Marie Chaker. Make sure to check out the slideshow online.

Here are two interesting statistics from the article: A 2005 study of 107 patients published in the Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation indicated that cardiac rehabilitation patients in a one-hour gardening class clocked in lower heart rates and better dispositions than patients who received a generic patient-education class. Another study, published in 2008 in HortiTechnology, showed that 18 residents of an assisted-living facility showed a significant increase in self-rated health and happiness after participating in four horticulture classes.

And speaking of horticultural therapy, the Journal of Therapeutic Horticulture has put out a call for papers for its next issue. Manuscripts may include research projects, case studies, program and services descriptions, therapeutic practice descriptions, therapeutic horticulture philosophies, therapeutic design project descriptions, relevant book reviews, and other related topics. See the AHTA website for more details and for the editor’s contact information. It’s an excellent opportunity to share what you know with others.