Making Connections Editor: Christine Capra
Program Manager, HT Institute

2023 Winter Newsletter

Horticultural Therapy is making an impact on people’s lives.
Read more about how it’s happening.

HTI Director’s Note:
Have a Vision!

By Rebecca Haller, HTM

In 2023, let’s look at steps to great gardens and how those are analogous to great programs beginning with winter – a perfect time of year to create or polish your vision.

In garden design, redesign, improvements, or even best maintenance, it is beneficial to have a vision. Imagine possibilities, picture results, believe in potential. Think about this in terms of outdoor space as well as indoors. Here are some things to consider:

  • How has the garden thrived in the past years? Would a modification of more or fewer areas for intensive cultivation or hands-on activities improve its success? Is there enough room for active gardening? Or would fewer high maintenance cultivated areas help the upkeep of the garden be more manageable resulting in a more beautiful and motivating space?
  • Is it time for an influx of inspiration with the addition of interesting or new varieties of plants? Even if the people you serve in HT change frequently, your enthusiasm and interest are often key factors in participation. So, keep it fascinating for yourself as well as those in the program.
  • Could the HT space use better maintenance and plant care? Remember that the garden is your showcase. It reflects on the quality of the program, the organization, and all those who participate in it. Do you need to hone your gardening skills to facilitate beautiful outcomes? How can plant care be incorporated into the HT sessions? Who else needs to be engaged in maintenance? What obstacles exist? Collaborate to solve them. A well-cared-for garden suggests value and regard for the program and those served.
  • What about the space itself? What enhancements are desired? Perhaps it would be beneficial to add or repurpose some space that would encourage people to decompress or intentionally observe/enjoy the garden. Is a private space needed for sessions or contemplation. Maybe adding permanent or temporary shelter from weather — heat, sun, wind, rain, etc. — would allow more frequent and reliable access to outdoors and use of the garden.

Visions are essential for excellence and for a growing and blossoming professional life and garden. So, seize this period to get inspired during the winter dormancy when the soil may be blanketed in snow preparing for the new growth of spring.

Carnivorous plant at Terra Botanica in Angers, France
Novel hanging planters in a greenhouse in Dolwyddelan, Wales
Private nook in an allotment garden in Edinburgh, Scottland
Cuttings to Tray

HTI Program Profile:
Internship Experience

By Sara Phipps

I currently work as a Recreation Therapist while completing the required Horticultural Therapy internship to become a Horticultural Therapist. My internship site is Cornerstones of Care – Ozanam Campus in Kansas City, MO and I started in mid-October 2022 with a goal of completing by the end of May 2023. I intern at a school day treatment program working with students 12-18 years old and the students have the opportunity to take the class as an elective for the semester. In my current place of employment working with a similar population, I have developed a strong clinical background, therefore I am focusing on improving my horticulture knowledge and skills. My supervisor provides frequent opportunities for engagement, through participating in sessions, providing 1:1 support to students as needed, being open to and encouraging my ideas, and sharing/showing pest problems that arise in the greenhouse. I know I am on the right track when I share an idea and the session has already been utilized on a day I was absent. I enjoy being a student again, sharing interesting sessions with family, friends, and coworkers as well as having my own collection of plants in the greenhouse and taking a few homes with me of course.

Sara Phipps, a recent HTI graduate, works as a Recreation Therapist in Kansas and is completing a horticultural therapy internship.

Fall 2023 Fundamentals of HT classes: Enroll Today

It is not an overstatement that the field of horticultural therapy (HT) changes lives—of both the therapist and those they serve. At the Institute, the experienced faculty provide advice to students entering the field. “The positive changes in the people you will assist will be rewarding and a continual source of inspiration, “said Rebecca Haller, HTM the Horticultural Therapy Institute’s director.  Nurturing each student as they journey towards bringing a career in HT to life is what motivates everyone at the Institute. Deciding to pursue an education in horticultural therapy is the start of that journey.

Fundamentals of HT class held at the Coastal Maine Botanic Garden in 2019.

This fall the journey begins with Fundamentals of Horticultural Therapy offered both in an online or face-to-face format. This class is a pre-requisite for the remaining three classes in the HT certificate at the Institute and is available in three different sections. Students need only attend one section:

Fundamentals of HT
Coastal Maine Botanical Garden (face-to-face)
Oct. 12-15, 2023
Boothbay, Maine
Deadline for enrollment: Sept. 12

Fundamentals of HT
Online (mountain time zone)
Oct. 26-29, 2023
Deadline for enrollment: Sept. 26

Fundamentals of HT
Online (mountain time zone)
Nov. 9-12, 2023
Deadline for enrollment: Oct. 9

The remaining three classes in the HT certificate will be held in 2024 with one section of each class being offered online and one face-to-face. Dates and locations to be announced later this summer.

For more information on the Horticultural Therapy Institute or to enroll in the Fundamentals of HT class go to, email [email protected], or Call 303-388-0500.

HTI Kudos:

Erica Wharton, HTR at Loveland Youth Gardeners

New Registered Horticultural Therapist

Congratulations to HTI graduate, Erica Wharton, HTR who recently received her professional registration through American Horticultural Therapy Association. She is currently the Program Director at Loveland Youth Gardeners. She runs a variety of horticultural therapy programs for youth facing challenges at their small urban farm, The Good Enough Farm, in Loveland, CO. She is excited to be an HT supervisor soon so she can help to grow our profession. 

Horticultural Therapy Methods book in Spanish!

The new Spanish language version of Horticultural Therapy Methods will soon be available on Amazon.

Spearheaded by Daniela Silva-Rodriquez Bonazzi, an HTI graduate and blog author, the Spanish version of the Horticultural Therapy Methods book has become a reality. and will soon be sold via Amazon in kindle format.

In addition, Silva-Rodriguez Bonazzi, based in Peru, is embarking on an exciting 54-month research project beginning in July. Her organization, Asociacion Peruana de Horticultura Terapeutica y Social (APHTS) will participate with 12 partners from 5 European countries with the consortium name of NatureLab.

She shared this information. NATURELAB aims to increase the recognition, the promotion and the use of green and blue spaces as care providers, by investigating the benefits of nature-based therapies (NBT) that promote well-being and support health prevention and rehabilitation. NBT involves more than simply recommending being in nature. There is a recognized need to develop and establish scientifically validated protocols to support people to connect with nature in ways designed to respond to their specific personal needs. 

NATURELAB proposes an integrative and innovative approach to contribute to resilient communities. The project will enhance and expand the green and blue areas benefits – as the resilience to climate change, the promotion of biodiversity and urban water management – and link all of these to a Health Pillar and a Societal Pillar. The consortium will work closely with stakeholders – e.g., medical, healthcare, social and educational sectors, municipalities, NGO – and communities, providing solutions to improve the health and well-being and promoting the protection of biodiversity and sustainability of rural, coastal, and urban regions. NATURELAB will specifically focus on nature exposure and experience provided by i) forests, ii) urban parks and iii) horticulture and gardening contexts. In all those contexts and with all actors, the project will enhance and promote the global opportunities offered by nature-based solutions (NBS).