Therapeutic Horticulture: Wellness in the Garden
Gardening is the second most popular activity in the United States, it is also a universal practice done by people of all demographics, abilities and ages. Beyond gardening for enjoyment or for growing food, it also serves a therapeutic purpose. Therapeutic Horticulture refers to how being around plants and gardening can improve a person’s well-being, using plant-based exercises to enhance, stimulate, rehabilitate, support and overcome people’s emotional, cognitive, physical and/or social challenges. Both approaches are used by Occupational, Speech, Physical, Educational, and Rehabilitation Therapists, as well as in the field of Geriatrics.
Our Therapeutic Horticulture program is offered to groups and individuals within the vibrant and fragrant Lerner Garden of the Five Senses. The participants’ senses are invigorated as they do plant-based activities such as: sowing seeds, transplanting seedlings, nurturing the “taste” area of the garden, arranging flowers, harvesting, drying herbs, and making teas or potpourri sachets. Staff Horticultural Therapist, Irene Barber, instructs and customizes the activities for each participant while gently encouraging him or her to reach new potentials. An incredible aspect of the program pertains to the participants’ reactions. They get to see, feel, taste, smell and even hear the “fruits” of their labor as they return throughout the growing season.
Most of the sessions occur within the “Taste” area of the Garden of the Five Senses, where there are raised stonewall gardens with wheelchair access, a continuous railing to support independent stability and a post and beam pavilion that provides protection from the wind or hot sun. There’s an ADA approved slate sink, a picnic area under a grapevine pergola and plenty of drinking water and restroom facilities close-by. On rainy days, sessions are run within the Bosarge Education Building where views of the gardens are just outside.
This “one-of a kind” program has received exceptional popularity as groups return each year since the program’s start in 2010. If you’d like more information please contact Irene Brady Barber.
phone: (207) 633-8000 ext. 8034.
Therapy Sessions for Groups:
Group Therapy is 4-8 people for 90 minute interactive sessions. Fee covers the whole group.
6 week series: $300.00
12 week series: $550.00
1 visit: $115.00
Wednesday, Thursday and select Fridays, June through September.
Privately led garden activities for two people are offered within an intimate area of the Garden of the Five Senses. Perfect for those who don’t have convenient access to the joys of gardening, whether it’s due to living in an assisted facility, an urban building or a residence that doesn’t have raised or modified garden features for those with possible challenges. This is an opportunity for a loved one and their relative, friend or care-giver to create a garden craft, pot up a colorful plant or learn new tricks that are customized to each participants’ abilities. They will be able to take home the memento item(s) they planted or created in the session.
Fee: $90.00 for a 90 minute session, includes cost of admission.