Journal of Therapeutic Horticulture 5 - 1990


A Vocational Training Curriculum and Financial Study of a Model Floral Shop Training Program for Special-Needs Youths
Anita Elkins, HTR

This paper describes a retail floral design program developed at a residential youth care facility in the midwestern United States. Further, it describes ideas for individuals and/or organizations to implement a rehabilitative, vocational horticulture program for special­ needs youths.

Characteristics of Horticultural Businesses Hiring Person with Mental Retardation
Diane Relf, PhD, HTM, and Mary DeHart-Bennett

The horticulture industry offers numerous semiskilled job opportunities for individuals with mental disabilities. A mail survey of 557 private, ornamental horticultural businesses within the state of Virginia documented the employment of persons with mental disabilities in the industry. Responses revealed several characteristics of businesses that may employ persons with mental retardation.

Nuturing Plants, Children, and Older Individuals: Intergenerational Horticultural Therapy
Sandra G. Epstein and Denise S. Greenberger

The development of an intergenerational program in horticultural therapy seemed to be a natural approach for the establishment of a positive experience. We observed that the joining together of younger children and physically and cognitively impaired elderly is mutually beneficial. Children who are exposed to older individuals learned not to fear them, and the presence of children seemed to revitalize those individuals who were older.

Conducting Horticultural Therapy Research: A Methodological Essay
Bob M.Gassaway, PhD

Research is different things to different people. For many horticultural therapists whose days are long and whose clients are demanding, research is a task that can be put off because no one insists that they do it. But research inspires other therapists to put extra effort into planning their intervention and measuring the impact that they are having on their clients; research is more than extra work and extra time - it helps them measure the degree to which their efforts are worthwhile. 

In my own analysis of the role of research in this field, I have found that the people with serious interest in formal inquiry see research as a major need in the future development of horticultural therapy. They see it as providing the opportunity for professional growth because research encourages self­evaluation, self-criticism, and lifelong education. And horticultural therapists who conduct research tend very strongly to share an interest in writing about their findings; they want to disseminate information about the techniques that are working for them and their clients.

A Study Design to Investigate Factors Affecting Preferences of Clients for Hand Tools
Ellen J. Pitt-Nairn, MS Diane Relf, PhD, HTM, and  Alan R. McDaniel, PhD

The horticultural hand tool serves as an extension of the hand. The design of the tool should be matched both to the prescribed task and to the hand that is to use the tool. Special tools or modifications may allow people with physical limitations to carry on normal gardening activities. Studies focusing on tool improvements that allow people with physical disabilities to participate in gardening activities are required to improve the choice and design of tools.

A Comparison of the Effects of Horticultural Therapy and Pet Therapy on Self-Esteem and Well-Being of Adults with Visual Disabilities
Terri Martin-Yates

This study examined the effects of horticultural therapy and pet therapy on the self-esteem of adults with visual disabilities in a vocational training facility. Fifteen participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups: horticultural therapy (HT), pet therapy (PT), or control. Before and after the treatment period, all participants were verbally administered the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, the Diggory Self-Evaluation Questionnaire, and a scale developed by the author. The HT and PT groups met in one-hour sessions weekly for a six-week period. Working with plants was the focus of the HT sessions, whereas interacting with pets was the focus of the PT sessions. The hypothesis that horticultural therapy and pet therapy improved self-esteem was not supported.