The Buzz

A Day at Ave Maria- guest post by Ashia Aubrey


  Horticulture Therapy is the engagement of a people in garden activities that allows them to improve a sense of well-being and to achieve therapeutic goals. It uses plants and gardens for healing and rehabilitation. Horticulture Therapy can be used for people with physical, mental, or emotional challenges or even for job training. Studies have shown that success with plants can lead to success in other aspects one’s lives. This concept is very important for individuals whose disabilities or limitations might hinder their accomplishments in other pursuits. 

The Memphis Botanic Garden horticulture outreach program is made possible through generous support from Caesars Entertainment. The program uses plants, horticultural activities and the garden landscape to promote the physical, mental and social wellness of participants with special needs or limitations. The horticulture outreach program leader is trained to use horticulture to reach positive goals and outcomes for individual participants. Horticulture outreach at Memphis Botanic Garden encourages the interaction among people, plants, and gardens to improve cognitive, physical, social, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

On June 11, 2013 The Memphis Botanic Garden visited Ave Maria Home where residents there took part in an outreach program by making sun catchers and book marks out of pressed flowers. Each person could choose from a variety of flowers and greenery that they could use in his or her project. Most of the residents at Ave Marie are challenged by some form of dementia and arthritis, and some did not have coordination with their hands and needed assistance from the volunteers. Taking part in this horticulture therapy event allowed them to engage in a nature-related, productive activity and to socialize while working on their project.

Most of the patients were extremely friendly and open to speaking about their lives in the past, including gardens that they raised. A woman with Alzheimer’s spoke about her being reared on a farm and how she had a flower garden where she grew petunias, buttercup ranunculus, and marigolds. She had loved her garden and said it gave her ‘life.’

It was amazing to see how lively the participants were and how excited they were to complete the project. Some said they were going to give them to their children or grandchildren whenever they came to visit them. This horticulture outreach program was a success for the residents of Ave Maria, and the ongoing outreach program will positively impact many lives, thanks to the partnership between Memphis Botanic Garden and Caesars Entertainment.    

Posted by Ashia Aubrey at 12:08 PM


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