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Horticulture as Therapy





Horticultural therapy uses plants and gardens to promote individual mental, emotional, physical, spiritual and intellectual wellbeing. It is a discipline closely allied with physical and occupational therapy.

Persons of all ages have been shown to benefit from interaction with plants. Older adults in senior centers, nursing homes, retirement communities and adult day care facilities are among the groups where horticultural therapy is used.

NNMGs are not certified horticultural therapists. They work with recreational and occupational therapists on staff to develop therapeutic gardening activities at their facilities. Staff members must be present when Master Gardeners work with residents.

Since 2008, NNMGs have provided monthly horticultural therapy activities at the Orchard in Warsaw. They have customized an assortment of year-round activities adapted to the limitations brought on by normal aging, as well as conditions such as depression and dementia.

Master Gardeners can provide information to other facilities on setting up their own horticultural therapy programs. They are invited to observe and participate with us in therapy activities at the Orchard. For more information please contact us by email.

Virginia Cooperative Extension programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. An equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Interim Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.

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