Journal of Therapeutic Horticulture 10 - 1999


Handling Grief Through Horticultural Therapy
Laura A. Cinq Mars, John Tristan, MS, HTR, and Rob Zucker, MA, LCSW

Issues surrounding grief and loss are often encountered in a variety of settings by professionals in the field of care-giving. Although one may assume that institutions with geriatric populations are more experienced in bereavement issues than most, every direct-care treatment provider will inevitable confront the needs of their patients and families affected by the experience of substantial losses, including death. Horticultural therapists working closely with populations at risk of loss, both physical and emotional, must be prepared to encounter bereavement issues and can benefit from a heightened awareness of the grief process and its ramifications.

The Role of Horticulture in Human Well-being and Quality of Life
Paula Diane Relf, PhD

Horticulture is commonly defined as the cultivation of the garden. However, a broader definition of the Latin term Hortus cultura has been encouraged to include all of the translations of these two words, thus defining horticulture as "the art and science of growing flowers, fruits, vegetables, trees, and shrubs, resulitng in the development of minds and emotions, of individuals, the enrichment and health of communities and the integration of the 'garden' in the breadth of modern civilization". Today, it is even more important to understand all of the ramifications of the garden and its cultivation on humans. As people experience the progress brought about by technology they are more and more separated from the plants that have surrounded humans throughout all of history and from the cultivation of the garden that has led to the development of civilization.

Client Panel Discussion: Legacy Health System
Panel Facilitators: Teresia Hazen, MEd, HTR, QMHP, and Cari Bennett, MSW, LCSW

What healing benefits do participants derive from the horticultural therapy program? The following discussion reveals the stories of seven client panel members as they share their stories of the joy they feel when working with plants and the pride of accomplishment and comfort of being involved in ordinary, meaningful activities. As one patient explains "I think people like to see things grow and as long as it is growing they think mariacles really do happen." Through the horticultural therapy program at Legacy Health System, patients have found a little unexpected comfort and joy.

Importance of Multiple Outdoor Activities for Persons with Development Disabilities
Iwao Uehara, PhD, and Seigo Itah, PhD

This research describes case studies of persons with developmental disabilities and their involvement with multiple horticultural and forest activities at Shin' ai no sato Matsukawa, a treatment facility for persons with developmental and physical disabilities in Matsukawa Town, Nagano Prefecture, Japan.

Intergenerational Horticulture Therapy Research Variables Introduced by Staff, Volunteers, and Video
Mary Predny and Paula Diane Relf, PhD

Earlier this year a research project was conducted on a horticultural therapy program involving both elderly adults and preschool children at day care centers in ad­joining facilities. This research focused on the interac­tions between the two groups and the success of horti­culture in allowing for meaningful intergenerational ac­tivities (Predny and Relf, 2000). The design of this project allowed preschool children and elderly adults to be observed both during separate age group activities and similar intergenerational activities. Each week dur­ing the 10-week study included one day for the children's activity, one day for the elderly adults' activity, and a third day for the intergenerational activity. The horti­culture activities aimed to meet the needs of both the children and the elderly adults, and to allow for social interaction during intergenerational sessions. Although participation fluctuated due to attendance and interest, there were an average of 11 children and 7 adults who regularly chose to participate in the horticultural activi­ties. Two horticulture student volunteers assisted with the children's group both during the separate and intergenerational activities and two additional volunteers similarly assisted with the elderly adult group. Due to the large number of participants, many staff members and volunteers were needed to conduct activities, and videotapes were utilized to evaluate data. At the end of the research project, it was noted that the staff and vol­unteers played an important part in the level of success of the activities, and that the quality of the videotapes greatly affected the ability to evaluate the data. This paper discusses these variables, and possible ways to avoid or reduce their negative effects on horticultural therapy research. 

Design and Implementation of Horticultural Therapy with Children Affected by Homelessness and Domestic Violence
Johanna Keeley, MEd, and Leigh Anne Starling, HTR

The San Leandro Shelter for Women and Children has been providing refuge, safely and a healing environment for women and their children fleeing homelessness, family violence, substance abuse and mental health issues since 1986. The Shelter runs a children's program in the evenings that is planned and coordinated by the Child Advocate. In 1993, the 30-bed shelter initiated Project Open Doors; a comprehensive children's program that features gardening activi­ties as an integral component of the children's healing process. In the spring of 1999, the shelter, in collaboration with Project GROW, secured funds to expand the children's program into the world of horticultural therapy. Project GROW is supported by the State of California's Department of Health and Human Services and Mater­nal and Child Health. 

Therapeutic Garden Design in Residential Care for Older Adults Including Those with Dementia and Physical Frailties
Suzanna Gray, HTR

It is well established that gardens have healing ef­fects on persons' physical and psychological conditions (Barnes, 1996; Beckwith, 1996; Betrabel, 1996; Eckerling, 1996; Kamp, l 996), influence life quality across the life span, and are effective for persons who have dementia (Brawley, 1992; Beckwith, 1996). The purpose of this article is Lo describe the design and plant selection for a comprehensive garden that is-inclusive of those who have varying abilties and needs, who may have dementia, and who are elderly and frail in residential care. 

In Search of the Source: Designing a Neighborhood Wellness Garden
Mary Bedard, BSLA

A wellness garden, as applied to this project, can be defined as a place where one can experience a renewal of one's physical, emotional, and spiritual self, and af­firm feelings of well-being. A church congregation in Orangevale, California, asked for this kind of place, where they could meditate, reflect, and experience joy and healing, and which would be welcoming to the sur­rounding neighborhood as well as to the church mem­bers themselves. It was to be more than just a healing garden, or a meditation garden, a social gathering place or an exercise area, although these spaces were impor­tant parts of their garden vision. This wellness garden was to provide a place where one could search for one's own source of strength, a journey to be taken in one's own particular manner, in a diverse set of experiences, and thus be restored to wholeness. As a more holistic space, the wellness garden can provide a place where one can rest, work, or play in the outdoors, and experi­ence a reconnection to the natural world. 

The Nature of Change in Horticultural Thearpy
Ira Stamm, PhD, and Andrew L. Barber, HTR

The nature of change is something that has fascinated and eluded philosophers and scientists over the centu­ries. Change is that which is happening all around us to each of us, at each moment in time. Yet no where else is the concept of change more central and relevant than to a conference on therapy and rehabilitation, for change is the essence of our work. When we help others to grow, to develop, or to mature, or when we help others to regain lost skills or find new ways to do old tasks, we are helping people to change. Change then becomes the fulcrum around which we balance our work efforts; it becomes, so to speak, our "raison d'etre."

Adopt-A-Garden: A Model for Grounds Beautification at Hospitals, Institutions, and Businesses
Teresia Hazen, MA Ed, HTR, QMHP

A work team consisting of ten administrators and staff of Legacy Portland Hospitals developed a model pro­gram called Adopt-A-Garden. The objective of this pro­gram is to promote beautification and pride of the hos­pital grounds and to enhance teamwork, healing, health, and public relations. The program was carefully planned for success and included the creation of a kick-off cel­ebration, coordination between various hospital depart­ments, and collaboration with community leaders, busi­nesses, and a local horticulture training program. Twenty gardening teams were established the first year and con­sisted of staff, patients, and volunteers. The benefits of this program have included an increased recognition of existing horticultural therapy programs, development of new programs, improved hospital aesthetics, greater ap­preciation by staff, and an increased volunteer base. 

Horticultural Therapy with a Four Year Old Boy: A Case Report
Edward Hoffman, PhD, and David Castro-Blanco, BA

In recent years, the use of horticulture activity as a treatment technique has been investigated through a va­riety of studies. Beginning in the 1970's, a small but growing body of Literature involving individual and group cases has demonstrated that horticultural therapy is a successful treatment tool with developmentally dis­abled, physically impaired, and emotionally disturbed populations (Bunn, 1986; Autry, 1986). Horticultural therapy activities have also yielded positive results in developing social skills among normal-intelligence preschoolers (Bunn, 1986).

To our knowledge, the following case represents the first report describing the use of horticultural therapy as a treatment modality with a developmentally disabled preschool child.