Therapeutic Horticulture at the Gardens

Therapeutic horticulture services at the Gardens are designed to provide people of all abilities a rich, dynamic horticultural experience in our universally accessible Lerner Garden of the Five Senses. This inspirational garden is the scenic setting for therapeutic, garden-based sessions that engage and support the physical, emotional, and cognitive well-being of all participants.

Our trained Horticultural Therapist customizes and leads each session, helping to enhance the quality of life for every participant. From elders to those with limited mobility, individuals with visual impairments to those with other disabilities, working with plants first-hand can heighten senses, improve physical health, and increase cognitive awareness.

In 2021, our therapeutic horticulture services will continue to observe public health and safety modifications in accordance with Covid-19 pandemic-related CDC regulations. To learn more about these modifications, please contact Irene Barber, ibarber@mainegardens.org or 207-633-8034.

Groups

Our therapeutic horticulture sessions are individually designed, approaching each group differently and accommodating each person’s needs, preferences, and abilities. Though sessions offer participants the choice either to actively or passively participate, most soon feel able to engage in different opportunities, either with the group or separately, fostering empowerment.

Through such group work, participants tend to overcome barriers, build stronger social skills and group coordination, and develop interpersonal-support and trust amongst each other. Attending multiple sessions amplifies such results as confidence, independence, and an increased positive attitude and group participation.

Each session consists of a variety of outdoor activities: gardening in raised beds, either standing or sitting, watering, trimming herbs, or transplanting seedlings. Time is reserved for a creative project such as planting a container garden, creating a living wreath, or making pressed-flower cards.

Examples of Activities:

  • Sowing seeds
  • Drying herbs and making herbal sachets
  • Harvesting produce to keep or share
  • Potting up annuals or herbs to take home
  • Exercising the senses and vocabulary with plants

Group Session Rates:

  • One 90-minute session: $115.00
  • Six 90-minute sessions: $375.00
  • Twelve 90-minute sessions: $575.00

Pairs & Individuals

These wellness sessions for pairs and individuals provide an opportunity to reconnect with nature and gardening, either for those who may be limited at their residences or for people who want to enjoy the Gardens with a friend or loved one by creating their own garden craft or project to take home.

Whether potting up seedlings to nurture at home, assembling herbs for culinary or aroma-therapeutic use, or learning new plant-care skills, These personalized sessions offer a chance to unwind while immersing in an outdoor plant-based activity that is uplifting, creative, and memorable. All sessions are designed and facilitated by our trained Horticultural Therapist. Participants take home the item that they created during a session.

Examples of Activities:

  • Planting a container garden to take home
  • Making lavender pillows
  • Making a mini living wreath
  • Trimming and harvesting herbs for cooking
  • Arranging a take-home bouquet

Pair Session Rates:

  • One 60-minute session: $75.00
  • Three 60-minute sessions: $195.00
  • Six 60-minute sessions: $400.00

Individual Session Rates:

  • One 60-minute session: $55.00
  • Three 60-minute sessions: $125.00
  • Six 60-minute sessions: $260.00

These therapeutic horticulture sessions at the Gardens occur June-October. To learn more or to schedule a session, contact the Gardens.

Horticultural Therapy

Horticultural Therapy can be applied clinically as a complimentary modality to occupational therapy, speech therapy, and behavioral therapies to help achieve patient or client treatment goals. Our Registered Horticultural Therapist, HTR, is trained to provide clinical documentation for an individual or group. To learn more about this practice, visit www.ahta.org. If you’re interested in applying this service to either the group, pair, or individual sessions, please contact Irene Barber, 207-633-8034 or ibarber@mainegardens.org, to discuss details.

“No matter your ability, you can still truly enjoy gardening. Here in the Garden of the Five Senses, there are incredible features that enable me to do it independently without being able to see.” – 2010, Mollie Moore, (The VIPs)

We offer winter horticultural therapy sessions at satellite locations. For further details, please contact Irene Barber.