Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens’ Therapeutic Horticulture Coordinator Irene Brady Barber offers the following programs in the Lerner Garden of the Five Senses for groups and individuals.

Wednesdays and Fridays (summer)
Group Horticultural Therapy

This is a unique opportunity for people of all abilities to experience the emotional, physical, and cognitive benefits of invigorating garden-related activities tailored to the group’s abilities. The price for a six-week group session is $275; a 12-week session is $500. For more information, or to register, contact Irene at, or 207-633-4333, ext. 117. 

New for 2013!
Wellness Sessions for Caregivers and Loved Ones

Caregivers, are you looking for a gentle, therapeutic outdoor activity to enjoy with your parent, spouse or child? Therapeutic Horticulture Coordinator Irene Barber is offering individualized 90-minute garden-related activities on Thursdays throughout the season. Enjoy time together in a supportive and nurturing atmosphere, surrounded by the uplifting beauty of our gardens. Participants will go home with a finished project to keep or to give a friend. To schedule one of these sessions or for more information, contact Irene at, or call 207-633-4333, ext. 117.

The Therapeutic Horticulture Program at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

According to the American Horticultural Therapy Association (AHTA), the definition of Horticultural Therapy (HT) is the engagement of a person in garden-related activities, facilitated by a trained therapist, to achieve specific treatment goals. At the Gardens, the therapeutic horticulture program began in 2010 as a non-treatment goal oriented series. Landscape Designer and Horticulturalist Irene Brady Barber was hired as an intern to run the pilot program, coordinating the garden-related activities according to group and individual abilities. Irene is enrolled in the Horticultural Therapy Institute to become a certified horticultural therapist, which will enable her to conduct horticultural therapy sessions.

About the Activities

 Therapeutic horticulture at the Gardens is offered primarily in our stimulating and scenic Lerner Garden of the Five Senses. Groups are comprised of individuals with varying abilities, for whom Irene customizes garden-related activities. These activities provide emotional, physical and cognitive benefits. Within our six- or twelve-week series, group sizes range from three to seven people, and sessions last up to an hour and a half. Volunteers and caretakers assist Irene in helping the program run successfully. 

We now have a long-standing relationship with Mobius Inc. in Damariscotta, The Lincoln Home in Newcastle, St. Andrews’ Gregory Wing in Boothbay, and VIP (Visually Impaired People) in Boothbay. Individuals overcome  challenges while they perform garden-related activities; for instance, with instruction and assistance, someone who is visually impaired can sow lettuce seeds in one of the raised beds. Because that same raised bed is wheelchair accessible, another person, who’s in a wheelchair, can pull out bolting lettuce.

For more information, see our illustrated brochure.