Cultivate - the Horticultural Therapy Society of NSW

12 Jul 2019

Workshop: Introduction to Therapeutic Horticulture

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Held on Friday 31st May, 2019 at Camperdown Commons
Report by Eleanor Dennis

A beautiful sunny day greeted us as we assembled at the wonderful urban farm that is Camperdown Commons for the first of a new series of one day sessions, Introduction to Therapeutic Horticulture.

Fifteen participants took part and not only did they come from far and wide - the Central Coast, Portland (Vic) and Brisbane – but also from a wide range of professions and interest groups including allied health, community gardens, landscape architecture, ageing and education.

Toni Salter, the Veggie Lady, and immediate past President of Cultivate was the facilitator for the day.

The morning session focused on defining what Therapeutic Horticulture is and introducing concepts such as biophilia and hortophilia, landscapes for health, the benefits that can be derived from active and passive involvement in gardens and greenscapes and the notion of the ‘harvest high’ – the benefits derived from growing and harvesting your own veggies, fruit and flowers.

We then spent some time looking at the setting, purpose and focus for a TH program or project ie is it for vocational reasons or social and wellness or therapeutic.  For example, elements to be considered in a children’s garden might have more of an emphasis on the aesthetic rather than the functional – bright plants, things to discover, lots of physical activities such as water features, swings, bridges whereas a Rehab Centre dealing with a range of physical and mental health issues might have a mixture of quiet protected and private areas or reflection, open areas and raised garden beds.

The next stage involved looking at how to put a program together with the main take home message being that all programs should be designed for the client ie client-centred. It’s not a gardening program, it’s a therapy program.

The afternoon session involved taking part in some activities that can be used in a TH session, a look at adaptive tools so that programs can be inclusive of a range of abilities and the final session provided some tips and tricks on the business side of TH.

We look forward to the next course on Thursday August 1st at Camperdown Commons. Bookings can be made here.

Cultivate - the Horticultural Therapy Society of NSW
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