What is Horticultural Therapy?

Leaf-rubbings are a beautiful way to capture the fleeting beauty of autumn

 

Horticultural therapy is the practice of utilizing plants and plant materials as a therapeutic medium to improve a person’s mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being. Registered horticultural therapists (HTRs) are specially trained professionals that facilitate plant-centric and nature-based activities for groups and individuals. Therapeutic horticulture activities are designed to be safe and accessible to all ages and abilities. They foster a connection between the participants, and a connection to the natural world. We like to say it is a bit like art-therapy, but with plants.

Horticultural therapists work in a wide variety of settings- hospitals, schools, prisons, rehabilitation facilities,  senior-centers, and private homes. In clinical settings, HTRs work directly with patients and care staff to meet specific therapeutic goals. In less formal settings, the goal we aim to achieve is to facilitate an enjoyable experience, wherein participants engage their senses, interact positively with one another, and connect tangibly to nature and the seasons .

Therapeutic horticulture activities are tactile and engaging. Session themes and materials are determined by what is available out in nature, in real-time. Foraging for materials amplifies the therapeutic value of HT sessions, by getting us outside.

Part of our mission at Larkspur is to share the good times and benefits of therapeutic horticulture with our community. A portion of all our proceeds go directly to fund local HT programming. Please stay tuned for opportunities to attend a group session, and for ways you can support the growth of Larkspur’s HT outreach. See our resource page for more info about horticultural therapy .