Horticultural therapy

Fundamentals of Horticultural Therapy classes

HT class

What: Fundamentals of Horticultural Therapy classes
When & Where:

  • Oct.23-26 / Upper Marlboro MD (Melwood)
  • Nov.6-9  /  Denver CO (Anchor Center for Blind Children)
  • Nov.20-23 / Half Moon Bay CA (Elkus Ranch)

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 Fundamentals of Horticultural Therapy this fall in one of three locations. Download class flyer >>

About The Horticultural Therapy Institute –
At the non-profit Horticultural Therapy Institute, students gain the skills and confidence to create and manage successful horticultural therapy programs, and are inspired to become leaders in the practice and profession of horticultural therapy.  Our experienced instructors are dedicated to teaching best practices with passion and excellence, keeping an eye on the changing needs of programs, people and places.  Learn more >>

The first therapeutic garden in Romania!

Planting in Romania healing garden

Landscape engineer Nicsanu Marcela recently posted a photo on our TLN Facebook page with an image of raised flower beds and this caption: “First therapeutic garden in Romania!” That was pretty exciting. I emailed her to ask whether she’d like to do a guest blog post, and she agreed. Here is her post:

The first therapeutic garden in Romania opened its doors in June 2014, at Mocrea Psychiatric Hospital in Arad County. This first garden opened the way for horticultural therapy, a healing method used in almost some psychiatric hospitals in Western Europe and the USA.


The Enabling Garden at Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital

Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital

A lily pond and lush plantings make this garden an excellent place for rehab work.

Horticultural Therapy is, in a nutshell, the use of plants, gardens, and other aspects of nature to improve people’s social, spiritual, physical, and emotional well-being. Check out the HT page on the TLN website, and the organizations American Horticultural Therapy Association and the Horticultural Therapy Institute for more information. The new book, Therapeutic Landscapes: An Evidence-Based Approach to Designing Healing Gardens and Restorative Outdoor Spaces also has a great chapter on HT, written by the inimitable Teresia Hazen at Legacy Health in Portland, OR.

Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital

A horticultural therapist works with a client

The HT program at Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital is well-established and respected in the field. Thanks to Pam Young, the Horticultural Therapist there, for this description of their program, and for the accompanying photos.


13th Annual American Horticultural Therapy Association (AHTA) conference

AHTA conf “Honoring the Past…Envisioning the Future”

The American Horticultural Therapy Association (AHTA) is celebrating its 40-year anniversary, so you know their annual conference is going to be a rockin’ one.

Where: The Commons Hotel in Minneapolis, Minnesota
When: Friday and Saturday, September 20th and 21st. Pretours are scheduled for Thursday, September 19th.

This year’s anniversary celebration will feature past AHTA presidents and luminaries from the field, as well as a host of international presenters who will discuss their research, practices, and the future of horticultural therapy. New this year and included in your conference registration fee is the 2013 AHTA Anniversay Gala Dinner.  Help us honor our 2013 AHTA Annual Award winners and recognize those who helped shape AHTA through the past 40 years.

For more information, visit the AHTA Annual Conference meeting pages on the AHTA website.


Children & Youth Garden Symposium: Register by 7/23!

July 11-13, 2013! Children and Youth Garden Symposium

The American Horticultural Society’s 2013 National Children & Youth Garden Symposium takes place at the Denver Botanic Gardens July 11-13, 2013, with pre-symposium garden tours on July 10 and 11.

In addition to a host of seminars, attendees will have the chance to participate in tours of the Denver Urban Gardens, The Gardens on Spring Creek (Fort Collins, CO) and Cheyenne Botanic Gardens (Cheyenne, WY). The event’s prime sponsor, The American Horticultural Society, has organized more than 50 workshops in six categories including Curriculum, Garden Design and Maintenance, Horticultural Science, Horticutural Therapy, Literature, and Policy.

Keynote speakers
The first of three keynote speakers is environmental psychologist Louise Chawla, Professor of Environmental Design at the University of Colorado.
As Associate Director of the Children, Youth and Environments Center for Community Engagement. Marcia Eames-Sheavly is a senior lecturer as well as children and youth program leader for Cornell Garden-Based Learning in Ithaca, NY.
David Sobel, Senior Faculty in the Education Department at Antioch University in Keene, NH. He is the author of seven books and more than 60 articles focused on children and nature for educators, parents, environmentalists and school administrators.

Pre-symposium garden tours July 10 and 11
Denver Urban Gardens supports one of the largest school garden networks in the United States. In this tour you will see three school gardens and learn how they foster community, health, and education. A youth-led farmer’s market at Fairview School Community Garden, a schoolyard farm at Denver Green School Community Garden supplying the cafeteria salad bar managed by Sprout City Farms, and integrated nutrition and science classes at Bradley International School’s Heather Regan Memorial Garden will be some of the dynamic aspects of youth gardening we will encounter.

The Gardens on Spring Creek and Cheyenne Botanic Gardens are public gardens that serve as models for children’s gardening due to their dedicated interest in making gardens a safe, enjoyable, and educational environment for children and youth. Staff at each location will give personalized tours while highlighting the history and development of these children’s gardens, as well as their hands-on methods of educational programming.

A sampler of symposium workshops

  • Benefits of School Gardens
  • Cross-Curricular Cooking
  • Slow Food in the Garden
  • Little Budget, Big Impact! Hands-on Lessons, Few Supplies
  • Sensory Gardens that Maximize Play
  • Learning Gardens: Making Outdoor Education Irresistible, Relevant and Resilient
  • Your Garden Toolkit: The Right Tools for a Children’s Garden
  • Lessons for Today’s Children’s Garden Educators
  • Discover Fun and Interesting Fruits and Veggies for the Garden
  • Teachable Landscapes: Using Gardens for Informal Science Learning

The symposium is also offering three Horticultural Therapy sessions:

  • Operating a Greenhouse with Special Needs Students
  • Horticultural Therapy and Junior Master Gardeners
  • Horticultural Therapy: Gardening with Pediatric Patients in a Hospital Environment

In 1993 the American Horticultural Society saw a need to reconnect children with nature, and  created the first Children & Youth Garden Symposium. If you wish to register the July 2013 conference, visit the registration page. Learn more details by visiting the overview page which offers a day-by-day schedule of workshops and activities. If you have specific queries, contact the American Horticultural Society,  703.768.5700 or webmaster@ahs.org.


American Horticultural Therapy Assn. proposals due 3/31

AHTA Conference 2013

This year’s American Horticultural Therapy Association conference celebrates AHTA’s 40-year anniversary. Numerous international presenters as well as past AHTA luminaries will present their research, practices, and the future of horticultural therapy on September 20-21, with pre-conference tours on 9/2o, in Minneapolis, MN.


Presentation proposals are being accepted until March 31 in the following areas:

• Collaborations with allied professionals;

• Current research in horticultural therapy including other allied and adjunct professions;

• Implementation and sustainability of horticultural therapy programs, particularly those in non-traditional settings;

• Successful practices and programming strategies (including goals, objective and methods);

• Therapeutic garden (nature) design elements;

• Creating opportunities for horticulture therapy interns; and

• Creating opportunities to promote the horticulture therapy profession.

For details about registration and programming and to learn more about the Request for Proposal process, visit the AHTA Conference page.


“Forging New Frontiers, Cultivating New Landscapes” – AHTA Conference in Olympia, WA

Garden-Bridge_4995. Photo by Henry Domke, http://www.henrydomke.com

Photo by Henry Domke, henrydomke.com

2012 Conference of the American Horticultural Therapy Association
October 6-7, 2012
Olympia, Washington

The American Horticultural Therapy Association (AHTA) will hold its annual conference, October 6-7, in Olympia, Washington. Dr. Susan Rodiek, of Texas A&M University’s Center for Health Systems and Design, will be the keynote speaker. Rodiek is a well-known researcher in the field of health care design with a focus on aging, dementia and the role of the outdoors in senior residential care.

The conference, “Forging New Frontiers, Cultivating New Landscapes,” offers a range of sessions including the “Reflective Garden Walking Program to Reduce Stress.” In this Saturday session, presenter Ruth McCafferty will discuss the walking program at the Morikami Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach, Florida. The Stroll for Well Being was developed to measure the effects of reflective garden walking on stress, depression, and emotional problems. In the workshop, “Cultivating Culture Change,” horticulture therapist Pam Catlin will invite attendees to vision the future of horticultural therapy for elders.

Perkins School for Blind

Perkins School for Blind

Formed in 1973, the American Horticultural Therapy Association has helped horticultural therapy gain acceptance as a unique and dynamic human service program.Horticultural Therapy is recognized as an effective treatment with wide-ranging benefits for people in therapeutic, vocational, and wellness programs.

For more information about for the October AHTA conference, registration and hotel accommodations, visit the conference site. The registration form is available here.

Planting Seeds for Culture Change – Hort. Therapy for Elders

May Apple. Photo by Henry Domke, www.henrydomke.com

Photo by Henry Domke, www.henrydomke.com

Two-Day Workshop Focuses on Horticultural Therapy for Elders

Planting Seeds for Culture Change is a workshop taking place in early May and late June in Grand Rapids, MI and Prescott, AZ, respectively (see below for dates).

The two-day training focuses on the use of horticultural therapy (HT) with elder populations from the “culture change” perspective.  In the hands-on workshop, attendees will gain skills to incorporate HT into care plans and learn strategies to enable elders’ full participation and gardening success. Instructor Pamela Catlin, has more than 30 years of experience providing  HT to elders. For more information regarding workshop content, registration deadlines and enrollment, visit www.htinstitute.org or call 303.388.0500. 

Locations and dates for Planting Seeds for Culture Change:

Friday and Saturday, May 4-5, 2012, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Porter Hills Retirement Community
Grand Rapids, MI

Friday and Saturday, June 22-23, 2012, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Margaret T. Morris Center
Prescott, AZ

Fee:  $290 (includes all materials and lunches)


National Horticultural Therapy Week

Image from Barclay Friends website, http://bf.kendal.org/living/HorticulturalTherapyatBarclayFriends.aspx

A Barclay Friends resident, watering plants as part of the HT program

It’s National Horticultural Therapy Week!

What is horticultural therapy, you may ask? According to the American Horticultural Therapy Association (AHTA), HT is “the engagement of a person in gardening-related activities, facilitated by a trained therapist, to achieve specific treatment goals…AHTA believes that horticultural therapy is an active process which occurs in the context of an established treatment plan. HT is an effective and beneficial treatment for people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities.” To add to that, the Canadian Horticultural Therapy Association (CHTA) says that “Horticultural Therapy (HT) and Therapeutic Horticulture (TH) use plants, gardens, and the natural landscape to improve cognitive, physical, social, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing.”

In April of 2010, the the Wall Street Journal published an article on HT, titled “When Treatment Involves Dirty Fingernails: Research Finds That Horticulture Therapy Lowers Heart Rate, Improves Mood, Lessens Pain, Aiding in Healing Process.” Here are a couple of excerpts:

Practitioners say that in health-care facilities that can feel stressful and sterile, gardens and plants offer an important respite. “This is a normalizing place,” says Gwenn Fried, horticultural therapist at the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center. Rusk features a Glass Garden conservatory filled with lush tropical plants, a pond, chatty birds as well as an area where patients work on the mechanics of planting seeds, dividing plants and starting new ones from cuttings. Ms. Fried says the horticultural-therapy sessions can help patients with a wide variety of rehab exercises, such as redeveloping fine motor skills or even cognitive work following neurological surgery. (more…)

Annual Horticultural Therapy Forum at “The Hort,” NYC


Join the Horticultural Society of New York for the 6th Annual Horticultural Therapy Forum
Friday, February 10, 10:00am – 2:15pm

Supportive housing is just that: housing plus support. The Supportive Housing Network of New York works with their members to help tenants lead healthy lives in sustainable physical surroundings. The supportive housing model means that tenants have affordable apartments and access to the services they need to stay housed and healthy. Horticultural Therapy, or HT, is a key component in making this possible.

Horticultural Therapy is an effective cognitive behavioral therapy that provides physical and emotional benefits as well as related health benefits—improved indoor air quality, access to healthy food, and a stronger sense of community connection. For a number of Network members, the benefits of providing HT to their tenants have been immediate, substantive and tangible—tenants receive great pleasure from the flowers, plants, fresh food and herbs they’ve helped nurture and grow.

Join us at The Hort for a day dedicated to horticultural therapy and the benefit it provides to the supportive housing community. We also extend a warm welcome to our governmental partners: NYS Office of Mental Health, NYC Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene, and NYC Dept. of Housing Preservation & Development.

Admission: $20 (breakfast and lunch included)
Click here to register online or call 212-757-0915 (x100).
Visit the HSNY website to see the full schedule for the forum