Horticulture Therapy is the practice of engaging people in plant or gardening activities to improve their bodies, minds, and spirits. It is a time-proven practice. The therapeutic benefits of garden environments have been documented since ancient times. For most gardeners, Horticulture Therapy is an easily understood concept. We gain a sense of peace when working with soil, plants, nature and the outdoors. For individuals with physical, developmental or emotional disabilities, this type of therapy can help them use plants and related activities to improve physical mobility, social interactions and an overall well-being in ways that are perhaps new to them.
Our Collin County Master Gardener Horticulture Therapy volunteers have taken programs to several locations in Collin County, sometimes working with facilitators to achieve specific goals. We helped assemble miniature gardens at several nursing and rehabilitation centers, day service centers, and camps for special needs adults and children. Scavenger hunts, leaf rubbings, collages and hands-on herb presentations were enjoyed by many. At each event, we witnessed something special happen with our participants, and we were hooked again by this meaningful horticultural outreach.
BENEFITS OF HORTICULTURAL THERAPY:
CURRENT Horticulture Therapy PROGRAMS IN COLLIN COUNTY:
Master Gardeners have been busy providing horticulture lessons and experiences to Collin County residents who are not reached by our usual programs. In the past few months, the Horticulture Therapy Committee has provided programs for all ages with special needs in Plano and McKinney.
In a joint venture with Plano Parks and Recreation, Master Gardeners have held classes for special needs adults during the summer camp series. Pothos ivy cuttings were planted in pots decorated by the 12 individuals in this class. Plant needs were discussed and plant care directions were sent home with the plants. These experiences are new to some of the adults, but for others it reinforces their knowledge. Additional sessions will be given to summer camps in July and August, if you would like to participate.
My Possibilities, a non-profit day care for disabled young adults, HIPsters (clients) participated in activities that engaged all their senses using herbs. Live plants and dried herbs were tasted, touched and smelt by the group of 30 individuals. This was a very popular program for the HIPsters and the Master Gardeners. Other activities at My Possibilities have been: planting large pots at their entry, planting a mini-garden under grow lights in the activity room, and planting beans in pots to take home. The HIPsters care for all their plants following the lessons they learned from the hands on activities.
Master Gardeners have served other facilities in Plano including The Pioneer Place, Heritage Manor, and The Highland Springs Garden Club. Projects included presentations on house plant care, design and planting of indoor gardens, repotting techniques, and plant identification.
Friends Place Adult Day Services in McKinney provides special programs for individuals with Alzheimer's or other dementias. The Horticulture Therapy Committee has provided three programs for this facility. The first program was last fall. We taught care and planting of amaryllis bulbs which were kept at the center. Another program used dried flowers and plant materials for a bookmark craft. Our recent program had the adults planting four large pots with flowers for the patio at the facility. Much soil (dirt) and mulch was spread around as the clients worked on this project. Many of the 30 clients at this facility have happy memories of gardening with family and living on farms and they share their memories with our master gardeners.
Master Gardeners have served other facilities in McKinney including Kingsley Place where they provided expertise to transform a broken fountain into a seasonal garden. At The Medical Center of McKinney, Wysong Campus groups of 8 to 15 clients potted seasonal flowers to brighten their rooms and learned how to take care of their plants.
The Horticulture Therapy Committee will continue to work with Physical Recreational Therapists in our county to provide unique experiences to clients requiring special programs. If your group is interested in learning more about our HT program, or initiating a project at your location, please click on the link below.
Click here to contact us about arranging a Horticulture Therapy Program.