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Therapeutic Gardens

A therapeutic garden, according to the American Horticulture Therapy Association, is “a plant-dominated environment purposefully designed to facilitate interaction with the healing elements of nature. Interactions can be passive or active depending on the garden design and users’ needs.”

Horticulture therapy can help people to improve:

    • Fine motor skills (the ability to use the small muscles in the hands and wrist)
    • Concentration
    • Stamina
    • Hand-eye coordination
    • Sense of independence and control

Seniors with cognitive decline show reduced agitation, increased self-esteem and develop a greater sense of purpose by gardening or just being in a garden.

Children on the autism spectrum may experience lessened hypo-or-hyper sensitivity, better social interaction and reduced agitation.

Henrico Master Gardener Projects & Activities:

Henrico Master Gardeners have been working with St. Joseph’s Villa to develop a children’s serenity garden (below) for children on the autism spectrum who attend school there.

The garden has features and plants that appeal to all of our senses. Plants provide color all year round, and attract butterflies and birds. Plants can be touched and tasted.

A water feature provides the soothing sound of falling water.

Paths are wheelchair accessible.

The garden includes children’s art projects, like this sculpture

Henrico Master Gardeners are also working with the Circle Center, an adult day care facility on a regular basis. We have also worked on individual projects at The Millhouse, Marywood and Beth Shalom.

Interested in developing a new project with the Henrico Master Gardeners?
Contact Terry Lautzenheiser at the Henrico Cooperative Extension Office: (804) 501-5160.

The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul. — Alfred Austin