Horticultural Therapy Bridges the Generation Gap and Involves the Sarasota Gardening Community

Claire Herzog, Judith Morris


Horticultural Therapy uses gardening activities and a connection with nature to heal and rehabilitate people. Two horticultural therapy programs, one for emotionally handicapped middle school students and one for older adults in an assisted living facility (ALF) are reviewed. The program at the ALF needed raised garden beds. The students at the school were receiving instruction in building garden structures. Service learning is highly valued in the school system. As a service learning project, the students built the raised beds in class, then delivered and installed the beds at the ALF. The collaboration between the two groups was supported and facilitated by master gardeners and garden club members. Positive intergenerational interactions were observed. ALF residents reacted favorably to the day's activities. Participation and membership in their program has since increased. The students' comments indicated improved self-esteem through the appreciation of their successful endeavors to help others. Both groups wished to pursue the relationship. The residents have since visited the students at their school for a joint class in day lily hybridization. A grant application has been submit ted to continue and expand these intergenerational activities.

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283