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Winter 2010 Newsletter

Linking People and Plants

Happy New Year!

Rebecca Haller, HTM
Director, HT Institute

In 2010 the Institute held 11 classes in HT – that’s 44 full days of face-to-face instruction and interaction! We were in Colorado, North Carolina, Michigan and California.
Each time a group came together for a new class, students shared stories and successes about how they have put the previous class experiences into practice – all very rewarding for an instructor! It’s exciting to see the skills, success and enthusiasm of new and past students. Recently, I’ve noticed a few trends among our students, including:

  • A keen interest in facilitating nature connections
  • An increased focus on HT for mental health
  • Signing up for college credit to meet professional standards
  • A somewhat broader age range attending classes
  • A high enrollment in the Introduction to HT classes in fall of 2010.

Looking forward, clearly the needs for HT have not gone away. For example, this is the year that the first baby-boomers turn 65, beginning to swell the numbers of elders that may benefit from HT programming. We continue to see injured veterans, youth that desperately need a healthy connection with nature, and an ever-increasing pace of life for most everyone. Now is the time to be bold by starting new programs, documenting the positive outcomes you witness daily, and by writing about what is learned as you work in this profession. You/we can make a difference!

New Curriculum in 2011

Look to us in 2011 for an improved curriculum, fewer class travel days, and educational options that work. The improved curriculum:

  • Includes four courses:
    • Fundamentals of Horticultural Therapy
    • Horticultural Therapy Techniques
    • Horticultural Therapy Programming
    • Horticultural Therapy Management
  • Offers new course content
  • Moves students through the program at an accelerated pace
  • Makes it possible to complete a certificate in one year
  • Meets in four face-to-face sessions (reduced from five session in the past)
  • Saves travel costs, without raising overall tuition
  • Incorporates more distance experiences

HT Internship Found on a NYC Subway Platform

On an otherwise uneventful day, a conversation that started on a New York City subway platform led to a challenging and rewarding HT internship. Upon exiting the F train on my way home, I recognized someone on the crowded platform from a NYC public school garden volunteer event and greeted her. This is how I met Pam Ito, Director of Children’s Education at the Horticultural Society of New York (HSNY). With that chance meeting, my internship was launched.

Discovering baby leaves and roots of seeds in an afterschool Read and Seed program.

I started my internship in May of 2009, and have been learning the practice of horticultural therapy in a variety of urban settings through HSNY Outreach Programs such as Apple Seed, Read and Seed, Green House and the Green Team. These programs focus on the use of horticulture to provide job training, improve cognitive functioning and promote mental and emotional healing. They reach men and women who are incarcerated on Rikers Island, adults with special needs, children in underserved neighborhoods and at-risk youth. In the course of my HT internship, I have worked alongside social workers assisting homeless people with HIV/AIDS and with teachers in public school classrooms and after-school programs. Under the supervision of Hilda Krus, HTR, and tutelage of HSNY staff, I am learning to maximize the therapeutic benefits of horticulture.

Witnessing the positive outcomes to the HSNY programs is what motivates me to continue. In public schools, every time I take children out of the classroom to interact with plants through simple activities such as planting seeds, watering or harvesting, the garden supports healthy development and environmental awareness. For the homeless men and women of the 12th Street Garden Project, the garden offers a place and a means to support a nutritious diet, increase exercise and improve outlook. My participation in the Rikers Island program has convinced me of the transformative potential of people–plant interactions, even in the bleak environment of a prison.

Two new gardeners from 12th  Street Garden project that provides homeless people with HIV/AIDS a means to grow nutritious food. Sandra Power in the green tee shirt, Liza, a social worker who partners with HSNY, is proudly holding a green pepper from the garden

The most important thing that I have learned from my supervisor is that less is more. When I first started my internship, she cautioned me to limit the amount of plant material and supplies that I brought with me as an act of self-preservation. Navigating the NYC subway system with a heavy load is not a relaxing activity! Now, I realize that one blueberry per child is all that is needed to begin the process of HT. The restorative effect of nature is enormous, but it starts with the tiniest of seeds.

Part of the training garden at the Helios Klinik Holthausen.
Photo courtesy Andreas Niepel

As I become more knowledgeable about the theory and practice of HT, I am eager to acquaint myself with a variety of sites where HT is used. During a recent vacation to Berlin to visit friends and family, my supervisor, Hilda Krus, arranged a site visit with Andreas Niepel who directs the HT program at Helios Klinik Holthausen in Hattingen, Germany. His work focuses on neurological and neurosurgical rehabilitation of both adults and children. It was an invaluable experience. Despite the sub-zero temperatures and snow-cover, I was still able to appreciate elements of the garden that support his rehabilitation program. Sitting in on therapeutic sessions and a staff meeting showed me how HT programming functions in a hospital setting.

Now back in NYC, I am inspired and refreshed. After completing my last class with the HTI in February, my plan is to complete required coursework to become professionally registered with AHTA. There is much to accomplish and without a doubt, another chance encounter out there.

Sandra Power, HT Intern at the Horticultural Society of New York

Welcome to the Olivia White Hospice Home Gardens

The gardens surrounding the home were created for all who find themselves here. The history below reflects the many hands that have worked in the gardens. The volunteer gardeners have worked to create a quiet, peaceful place to experience alone or with those you love. The garden design enhances the sensory experience. You can hear zipping hummingbirds, water fountains, and the sound of wind chimes. It is a place to stop and smell the roses or the soothing fragrance of lavender. The many vegetables and herbs grown allow residents and staff to taste the gifts of nature. You can feel the gentle embrace of the wind and touch the soft leaves of lamb’s ear or bunny tail grass along with other more prickly plants in a ‘touch pot’. Another design consideration was providing universal access to all visitors and special beds/pots that allow interested residents to participate in gardening. Sitting and standing raised beds, and ‘sensory pots’ accessible to wheelchairs are enjoyed by many residents. Peace to all who enter…


The gardens were started by Norm Erickson, a hospice volunteer, before the home was built in 2001, on the corner of Switzer Canyon and Turquoise where the Olivia White sign is found. Norm also created the gardens directly in front of the home. In 2001 Laura Davis, a master gardener, began designing and planning for the gardens that surround the home. The first project was to lay the cement pathway which was done by NAU’s Construction Management class led by Dave Grider. A flagstone patio was created east of the home by Joanie Abbott of Foxglove Gardening with the help of Heber Trunnel. The first two plantings by the master gardeners included an Inferno Strip on Switzer Canyon led by Tara Crampton, and a Rose Garden led by Hattie Braun with a large donation of roses by Bill Brechan. Coconino County Park and Recreation at Fort Tuthill donated many truckloads of compost, and Bill Eichinger used his bobcat to help edge with rocks the gardens you see today. In 2004 a core of master gardeners and hospice volunteers (Loni Shapiro, Karen Kent, Cynthia Katte, David Hockman and Nancy Palmer) joined Laura and began creating the many gardens here today. Marcia Lamkin, Leslie Penick and Elsie Ellis joined later, and today there is a core group of 10 regular gardeners. They are supported by many other master gardener and hospice volunteers along with church groups, scout troops, AmeriCorp, Grand Canyon Youth Corp, NAU, CCC, Coconino High School, Coconino County Adult Probation Community Service, Upward Bound, and businesses throughout Flagstaff. Warner’s Landscape and Nursery needs to be singled out for their continuing support for the gardens since their inception with yearly fundraisers and discounts on plant and hard scape materials. In 2006 the gazebo designed by Jill Morris was completed with the help of Terry Payne and John Adams, from Christ’s Church, and Loven Contracting. John Adams along with the help of the Sunshine Lion’s Club finished it with a brick pathway.

The gardens continue to evolve each year. Some have already been altered from the original plan, such as the Rose Garden. In addition, many other trees, shrubs, plants and hard scape items have been donated. A list of donors is located in the library of the Olivia White Home. The library also includes a binder of all the roses found in our garden (over 40). On the back of this is a map completed under the direction of Cynthia Katte and Kathy Pate that includes the location of most of the gardens and the special features.


To help raise funds for the garden a “Wish List” is provided in the home. It includes yearly needs as well as special projects. Our main fundraiser to help pay for materials and water is memorial bricks (brochures available in the home). In addition, we sell note cards made from original paintings of the garden, photo note cards and bookmarks made from pressed flowers. All can be found on the table in the entry of the home. We are always looking for new volunteers to help in the garden. Our weekly garden activities during the year can be found on the master gardener blog at,, or by contacting Loni Shapiro, Garden Coordinator, at [email protected].

Gardens and Special Features

  • Inferno Strips I & II
  • Native Garden
  • Sensory Pots
  • Rose Garden
  • Sitting Raised Veggie Bed
  • Resident Hat Tree
  • Tea Garden
  • Rose Garden Walkway
  • Sitting Raised Bed
  • Faerie Garden
  • Native Garden Walkway
  • Standing Kitchen Garden
  • Perennial Bed
  • Painted Sheep Tough
  • Birdhouse Trellis
  • Scavenger Hunt
  • Filleman Arbor Bench
  • Painted Mailboxes
  • Soroptomist Mountain Morning Walkway
  • Moon Garden
  • Ginny Kadel’s Butterfly/Hummingbird Garden
  • Rock Garden

HTI Student Profile

By: Valoree Brethouwer

The Horticultural Therapy Institute (HTI) has given me the opportunity to complete a goal and much more! I discovered horticultural therapy when I was a freshman in college, majoring in horticulture. After graduation, I worked in greenhouse production at a local garden center. As much as I enjoyed working with plants, I missed the interaction of working with people. I became a nursing assistant and began working with the geriatric population.

Currently, I am working for a health care facility in Nebraska which serves long and short term care patients, memory care and hospice patients, and adult day services. Still having the goal of becoming a registered horticultural therapist, I enrolled in classes with the HTI, to fulfill the nine credit hours needed for registration. With the progressive classes offered, the institute has provided me with the building blocks to have a complete presentation package. I developed skills to be confident in starting a horticultural therapy program. Networking with other students provided me the experience to build new relationships, expand my knowledge, and share unforgettable memories.

The Horticultural Therapy Institute offers traditional and nontraditional students the chance to continue their education, expand their knowledge and enter into a rewarding industry. Thank you Rebecca and Christine for giving me the opportunity to complete a goal and much more!

California HTI Students Form Networking Group

By: Green Mann
A group of HTI students and HT practioners from the San Francisco Bay area had their first gathering in early Dec. 2010. It was lovely to meet with each other and share our current jobs and passions involving HT work. While each work with different populations, we enjoyed comparing required activity components for the different needs of our clients. Many brought their favorite activity books to share and we contrasted the benefits and shortfalls of each. Several brought photos of their program, including a web slide show and an annual report highlighting their HT program. One person shared techniques from recently attended wreath-making class, and of course, delicious food was shared and memories made. While this is an informal networking group, we all share an interest in meeting again to tour local facilities and continue sharing experiences working in HT. Students are welcome to join the gatherings to learn, connect and add their valuable viewpoints. Green Mann is currently managing the email list. Contact her at [email protected] to be added or subtracted from meeting notifications.