What is horticultural therapy?

A garden or nature setting provides the perfect setting as a means to understand one’s role and relationship to the earth and reliance on the earth.

A Horticultural Therapist promotes the people plant relationship through a holistic program plan through the nurturing of plants in a safe, non threatening environment.  Through this program one assesses capabilities and limits, quality of life, gains greater nutritional awareness and anticipation for what has been planted to grow and harvest from.  From this new found learning I hope an interest and opportunity arises to join garden clubs and make new friends together with the long-term positive affect flowers have on our mood.

You say your approach is Mindfulness. What exactly is that?

Mindfulness is a non spiritual approach originating from the Buddhist tradition of meditation.  Whilst I do not practice meditation (I prefer using storytelling) with youth this approach helps me to teach understanding, acceptance and compassion for others.  If a child is interested in meditation I would be delighted to help create an environment in your garden suitable for meditation.

I am an adult and interested in meditation?

I would be happy to start each activity with a meditation to aid greater focus and calmness.

Will this therapy be in any way harmful?

No. All activities are designed to be as safe and relaxing as a priority.  Gardening is the perfect outlet to physical aggression and anxieties.  A risk assessment of your nature or garden setting will be taken before an activity starts.

How will my child’s progress be assessed?

Continual communication either verbally or written each week together with self assessment.  I encourage participants to work on areas they feel personally motivated in.

Has horticultural therapy been validated scientifically?

Yes.  There is a wealth of information on the healing powers of horticulture on our minds and bodies. To see an extensive list of the benefits of HT see the position statement published by the American Horticultural Therapy Association at www.ahta.com

Canadian Horticultural Therapy Association

See also PRESS section on website.

Are the goals of horticultural therapy meaningful to me?

The main goals are cognitive, emotional, physical, spiritual and social.

How successful has this been for other children?

All children love to garden!  Gardening is a perfect outlet for aggressive behaviour and all children find a sense of relief in getting outside.  Children with any disability, whether its visual impairment, neurological or physical can enjoy gardening.  By planting and learning about horticulture children gain a sense of mastery and accomplishment which builds confidence and self esteem.

How are the activities planned and organized?

Activities are customized to fit need or perceived barrier to gardening. The process of change through horticultural therapy first and foremost involves reduction of negative arousal levels, which leads to improved health, allowing a number of other positive changes to take place.  Reduced negative arousal allows for more rigorous vocational activities to be gradually introduced, leading to the introduction of a rehabilitation program and the overall improvement of the participant’s health status.

Will my child receive tasks and rewards that are personally motivating?

Absolutely!  Each week your child will enjoy an activity that will result in immediate gratification (craft/harvest) and deferred gratification in the sense that they may have to wait for seeds to germinate or a flower to bloom.  Through these activities we will learn what specifically motivates your child.

Will the program prepare me to continue the therapy at home?

With each program I will provide a manual with plants, how to prune guidelines, discussion points and seasonal activities, instructions and standard risk assessment customized to each client.

Is the therapeutic environment designed to minimize distractions?

The ideal environment is working 1:1 and to learn to embrace distractions as this is part of every day life.

What is the financial cost and time commitment of this therapy?

The fee includes the cost of materials for HT activities only. Time commitment is adaptable to need. Please contact me for rates.

Where will the therapy take place?

Your home or nearest community park or garden.

How much is does a workshop cost?

Please contact me with regards to the specific needs of your workshop as the cost will vary depending on group size and needs.


Telephone: 604 612 4807

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