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Horticulture Therapy at William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital

Monday, December 18, 2017
by Elin Meliska | Director of Programs and Community Engagement

In October of 2016 I took an “Introduction to Horticulture Therapy” class through the Horticulture Therapy Institute to better understand how plants can act as a catalyst for mental and physical healing. This class showed how therapeutic horticulture can be used in a variety of settings, from early autism intervention to memory care patients, which helps participants achieve their physical and mental wellness goals. As gardeners, we know the wonderful effects gardening has on our physical and mental well being, and I was excited to apply my new skills and bring the joy of gardening to others.

Working with Mike Maddox, Master Gardener Program Director at UW-Extension, Diane Neal, Recreation Therapist for the Community Living Center at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital and many dedicated volunteers, we maintained the Courtyard Garden and provided a therapeutic horticulture experience to countless veterans. This garden features herbs, flowers and other sensory plants and acts as sanctuary for residents and their families. We got to know many wonderful residents at the Community Living Center, who helped us harvest and maintain the garden. It was an amazing experience to work side by side with the veterans and hear stories about their experiences with gardening and farming. Our favorite way to end a work session was enjoying perfectly ripened cherry tomatoes off the vine and laughing over a good joke.

Here at the Garden we are already looking forward to spring so we can get back to the Veterans Hospital.

If you are interested in being part of the fun, Master Gardeners can also volunteer at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital garden.

Visit their website for volunteer opportunities: https://www.madison.va.gov/giving/index.asp

The Allen Centennial Garden and its programs are funded entirely through private support - it receives no state or tuition dollars. To help support the Garden and continue to make our projects and programs possible, please consider a donation.


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Allen Centennial Garden
620 Babcock Drive
Madison WI 53706

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Phone: 608-576-2501
E-mail: info@allencentennialgarden.org

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