A Calendar Year of Horticultural Therapy
by Janice Hoetker Doherty

LilyFlower Publishing, Inc., 2009. ISBN 978-0-981-97751-0.
Reviewed by Sharon Wildwind
Posted on 05/02/2010

Nonfiction: Nature/Place/Environment; Nonfiction: Elders; Nonfiction: Arts/Crafts

This is not a book to read, it's a book to do. The author combines her two passions, gardening and working in health care, to create a set of wonderful step-by-step lesson plans to use with older people, particularly those in communal living settings. For example, in the spring you might want to create a fairy garden or make pressed flower bookmarks in November, so they can be given as Christmas presents.

I've rarely seen a more complete or helpful book of lesson plans. Everything is there: what benefit the project offers, materials required, hands-on instructions, special notes for participants with limitations, and for some projects, how to follow up in the weeks after doing the project. I especially loved her comment about how growing bulbs in January turned into a competition for weeks afterward as residents vied to keep their bulb blooming the longest, have the biggest flower, etc.

You need absolutely no gardening knowledge to use this book. If you can't tell a peony from a petunia, you can take this book to your local gardening and/or art store, show one of the staff the list of needed materials and you're on you're way. While the author focuses on using these projects with older people, they could be used just as well with Girl Scouts, Sunday school groups, day camps, or after-school care.

Janice Hoetker Doherty's writing on horticultural therapy has appeared in The Herb Quarterly and DreamWeaver magazines. She's also the founder and president of Growing Healthy, Inc. a horticultural therapy service. A life long gardener, she's won awards not only for her gardening skills, but for her volunteer efforts. Visit her website.

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