A National Garden Bureau Special Program

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Healthy plants, healthy and successful workers!

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Nurturing life skills leads to independent living.

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Developing social skills by working together.

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Vocational learning by following directions.

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“The Tent” is a place for tasting the harvest and teaching modules.

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Teamwork leads to a feeling of belonging.

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Vocational training by staking tomatoes.

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Changing lives with a garden.

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Working and conversing teaches important life skills.

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Beautiful urban garden in a beautiful city!

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Live science lesson on successful composting.

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Prolific sunflowers for local markets

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Thank you to all our supporters!

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National Media Attention!

In July, National Garden Bureau launched a campaign to help the Julie + Michael Tracy Family Foundation complete a 1.5 acre therapeutic garden, one that will uniquely assist young adults with autism learn important life and career skills. The story has already reached millions through major media news outlets - and you can be a part of its success, too! Take a look here:

  • Fox News Chicago visited the farm during fall harvest and clean up then reported with this story.
  • ABC News did this wonderful piece on our fundraiser and the benefits of the garden.
  • Click here to see Growing for Futures featured on WGN TV news.
  • Chicago Tribune published this feature in its Life & Style section. 
  • This story appeared on WTTW's Chicago Tonight and gave a thorough look into farm workers.

The Growing Solutions Farm is located in Chicago, Illinois and is the first beneficiary in this annual fundraising effort by the National Garden Bureau.

Here's how you can support this effort: 

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Therapeutic and Healing Gardens

We hear time and again how gardeners use their garden spaces to unwind from their day, get away from it all, relieve stress, etc. So it’s no surprise to us who already enjoy gardening that working either indoors or outdoors with plants is good for the body and soul. In fact, we just read this blog post by Jane Gates touting all the health benefits of home gardening. These days, there is more and more research showing how gardens and garden tasks can play an extremely important role in healthcare, treating ailments and afflictions, teaching or re-teaching physical activities and even providing occupational training for the future. This is known as Horticultural Therapy.

According to a more precise definition by the Chicago Botanic Garden, Horticultural Therapy is the professionally directed use of plant, garden and nature activities to achieve measurable physical and mental health outcomes. Gardens built to achieve those outcomes are often called therapeutic or health care gardens and are designed by horticulture/landscape professionals in conjunction with health care professionals.  
There are numerous terminologies attached to this area of garden design and function so we will define a few of the different types of gardens that are similar to therapeutic gardens:
Healing gardens – A garden that supports generalized healing by helping patients who have had physical, mental, emotional or spiritual harm become healthful, well and whole.
Rehabilitation garden – A garden used as therapy to restore a patient’s mobility.
Enabling gardens – A garden used to teach and inspire accessible gardening by example.
Meditation/Contemplation garden – A garden space that encourages reflection for spiritual and mental healing.
The basic premise is the same, and that’s to use a garden (ornamental or edible; inside or outside; small or large) as a tool for physical and mental healing. Some garden tasks are perfect for someone with limited mobility and will possibly allow them to continue to live on their own and grow their own food. A beautiful garden setting with the right amount of sun exposure can aid healing in patients young and old. Simply having a garden on site of a hospital, rehab center or retirement home (to name a few) encourages getting outside and soaking up the sun. A teaching garden within a school will teach life and survival skills for children of all ages, abilities and economic backgrounds.
In some recent research on the topic, we’ve found multiple sources of useful information.
The American Society of Landscape Architects is an organization for professional landscape architects, the ones who design therapeutic gardens, and has this article on defining a Therapeutic Garden.
The Chicago Botanic Garden not only has an Enabling Garden on their grounds (read about it here) but also offers a Horticultural Therapy Certificate Program.
The Therapeutic Landscapes Network is an online community of people and companies interested in using horticulture as therapy.
For professionals, there is the American Horticulture Therapy Association that assists their members advance the practice of horticulture as therapy.
All gardeners should understand the many ways gardening is beneficial and encourage the establishment of therapeutic gardens in their own communities. National Garden Bureau is passionate about inspiring more people to garden and horticulture therapy just gives us one more great reason to promote gardening. The more we know, the more we can help!

  • Pumpkin Cinnamon Girl PMR

    Beautiful ornamental with excellent eating quality. Short vines produce 3-4 fruits/plant, avg. 3-6 lb., with only 24-30" between plants. The dark orange color and strong handles make Cinnamon Girl PMR great for decorations, but it really shines when baked into a sweet, smooth pie filling. Moderate resistance to powdery mildew. Bred by Johnny's Selected Seeds. 

  • Corn 'On Deck Hybrid'

    Container Corn 'On Deck' is a phenomenal sweet corn that sets 2-3 ears in even the smallest of gardens- including containers! This variety grows to a maximum of 5’ tall and can be used as a tidy little wind screen on the porch or in the back of the garden. The 8” long bicolor ears are delectably sweet and have a great crispy kernel. Imagine just sowing 9 seeds in a 24” diameter pot and producing 27 ears of corn- that’s over an ear per inch!!

  • Salvia Blue Marvel

    Salvia Blue Marvel from Darwin Perennials has the largest flowers of all S. nemorosa. It re-blooms reliably in your perennial garden. Watch it attract pollinators to its upright, colorful spikes all season long.

  • Squash ‘Quantum’ F1
    ‘Quantum’ has exceptional uniformity of size and shape. It has a thick neck and a small seed cavity. ‘Quantum’ is a great tasting butternut squash. It has an attractive smooth tan colored exterior and a bright orange interior. Squash will weigh 3 to 5 pounds when mature. Strong vigorous vine produces a high number of fruits per plant. Begin your harvest 100 to 110 days from sowing seed.
  • Morning Glory 'Split Second'

    Stunning peony flower form with huge powderpuff double blooms. Absolutely show-stopping, they unfurl in a blend of softest pastel to deep rosy-pink, with no two flowers looking just alike! 


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