What is Horticultural Therapy?

Horticultural therapy incorporates horticultural activities facilitated by a registered therapist to achieve specific and documented treatment goals. For example, planting herbs helps increase sensory stimulation, watering helps improve motor skills, and group gardening helps decrease isolation and depression.

Horticultural Therapy at A.G. Rhodes

The Horticultural Therapy Program at A.G. Rhodes is a component of the Therapy and Rehabilitation Department. Our Registered Horticultural Therapist works with group and individuals, and sessions take place in resident living areas, in general “activity” spaces, in the therapeutic gardens, greenhouses or at bedside. Patients engage in planting, sowing seeds, taking cuttings and light garden maintenance during their horticultural therapy sessions.

The program’s physical structures include therapeutic gardens, greenhouses and indoor fluorescent light units. There are planters of varying heights, fragrant plants, paved surfaces, water features and meditation space located in the gardens. The climate-controlled greenhouses are designed for walker and wheelchair mobility, and sitting and standing height benches help facilitate gardening to accommodate patients at various functional levels. Surrounding the greenhouses are therapeutic gardens with heirloom plants that stimulate the senses and help recall past memories. Visitors and family members are also encouraged to visit the greenhouse and gardens for a relaxing change of scenery and relief from stress.

In the group rooms and rehabilitation therapy gym, portable fluorescent light carts are used for indoor gardening which enable residents and patients to nurture their new cuttings and seedlings regardless of the weather outside. Upon discharge, patients take home their seedlings, cuttings and transplants in order to continue the leisure interest that began or was reintroduced during rehabilitation at A.G. Rhodes.

Co-Treatment with Other Disciplines

Co-treatment between horticultural therapy and other therapies including physical, occupational and speech, occurs on a weekly basis. During treatment, patient needs are assessed and goals are established. Horticultural therapy may assist by increasing activity level, reintegration into a past interest, or by decreasing stress and anxiety.

Seeds for Seniors

The Seeds for Seniors program within our Horticultural Therapy Department promotes gardening as a frequent and accessible part of our residents’ day-to-day activities. Learn more about Seeds for Seniors and how you can support the program. Contributions support the Horticultural Therapy Department and help cover the costs of materials such as seeds, soil, pots and other gardening items.