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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Our Fundraiser gets National Media Attention!

National Garden Bureau recently 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!

  • Zucchini 'Alfresco'

    'Alfresco' is the true gourmet zucchini (courgette.) The Italian’s best kept secret, white courgettes (actually very pale green) are prized for their superior flavor, texture and cooking quality. White courgette are the type predominantly used in the Mediterranean region, you can really taste the difference!

  • Gerbera 'Cartwheel™ Strawberry Twist'

    'Cartwheel™ Strawberry Twist' gerbera has large, semi-double flowers that will add instant color to any room or patio. Available in shades ranging from buttery yellow with a hint of pink to a deep strawberry with a hint of yellow, 'Cartwheel Strawberry Twist' is a unique color combination that is sure to draw attention.

  • Dahlia ‘Dahlinova Hypnotica® Bronze Bicolor’
    Bronze Bicolor is a new color for one of the newest introduced series of dahlias. The radiant colors and elegant shape of the large blooms make other dahlias pale in comparison. It is sure to catch the eye in any garden with its color, elegance, attraction and brilliance. Heat, cold, wind and rain tolerant upright annual plants will grow 15 to 19 inches tall and spread 13 to 15 inches in full sun to shade locations.
  • Pepper 'Bellina'

    'Bellina' is another great addition to the Vegetalis Patio Edible range, all ornamental and edible, as well as being perfectly suited to containers and hanging baskets, so ideal for home gardeners with minimal space. 'Bellina' produces an abundance of sweet, snack sized, red Bell Peppers on a compact, branching plant that can be staked if required, but grows well in baskets and containers where it mounds and starts to cascade down the side of the pot.  

  • Petunia 'Sophistica Blackberry' F1

    'Sophistica Blackberry' Petunia offers shimmering black blooms with reddish-purple undertones. Part of the Sophistica ‘designer collection’ of petunias, Blackberry is nothing short of striking. The large, velvety-black blooms cover lush, upright plants for a show-stopping look. Plant 'Sophistica Blackberry' on its own, or contrast it with 'Sophistica Lime Green' (pictured) or another bright, lighter colored petunia. It offers deep conversation-starting color whether in mixed containers, hanging baskets, or garden beds. Height: 10-15", 10-12" spread.


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