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Who benefits from horticultural therapy?

Plants and nature-based activities benefit all humans. Horticultural therapy is designed to meet the needs of special populations such as people with cognitive and/or physical impairments, seniors, those with mood disorders, hospice patients, people with dementia, the incarcerated, wounded warriors, refugees, the homeless, people who suffer from PTSD, and at-risk children and youth.

Services consist of group or one-on-one activities using plants or natural materials to meet the goals and objectives of the client. Examples include propagating new cuttings and caring for them on an ongoing basis; planning, planting and harvesting an herb garden; creating arrangements using dried flowers and other plant material.

Program styles:

Our programs can have a vocational, physical rehabilitation, or social/emotional wellness focus. These three styles frequently overlap with one another, with the ability to adjust the emphasis. They are often incorporated into an established therapeutic program, for example with a team of recreational therapists, physical therapists and/or occupational therapists.


LSR Horticultural Therapy can bring services to schools, rehabilitation centers, hospitals, assisted living residences, senior centers, mental health clinics, community centers, private homes and other places. While existing garden spaces are beneficial, they aren't necessary. Activites often take place indoors. We can bring the outdoors inside.

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Examples of Client Benefits:

  • Increased confidence, self-esteem, and overall wellness

  • Enhanced socialization 

  • Improvement in balance, stamina and range of motion

  • A sense of productivity

  • Increased or preservation of cognitive skills

  • Optimism and joy while mitigating depression and anxiety

  • A feeling of calm and improved positive behavior

  • A sense of inclusion and contribution to community

  • Enhanced quality of life

“I would have to say almost every single job involved in gardening has a lesson to teach, a life lesson. From seeding and watering in the greenhouse, you learn that attention to detail is so important. Life or death for those little seeds depends on your continual watch and care. When you watch the plants grow and grow and bloom somewhere inside you are growing and blooming too. This begins a foundation of self-worth and respect.”

—Anonymous quote from a trainee at the Homeless Garden Project, Santa Cruz, CA

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