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!

  • Melon 'Sakata's Sweet'

    This lovely melon originated in Japan. Asian melons have very crisp flesh and extremely high sugars. These white rind and white fleshed meloons are a real treat. The vines are prolific and set six to seven fruit each.

  • Tomato Poseidon 43

    What makes a great tomato? In parts of Asia, pink tomatoes are considered the best, as pink tomatoes are typically sweet to the taste with low acid levels.  If you are looking for a mild tomato, this pink tomato is sure to please.

  • Gazania ‘Big Kiss™ White Flame’ F1
    ‘Big Kiss’ large brightly colored shapely 4.5-inch blooms really pop as they are held high above the foliage by strong stems. These full, bushy plants 8 to 10 inches tall and wide will fill containers quickly. The new ‘Big Kiss’ series is available in 2 unique, bold colors and patterns and a mix. Loves the heat and adapts to water stress. You will want to grow this annual in your sunny garden or container.
  • Basil 'Caesar'


    There’s no doubt about it: fresh summer vegetables love basil. Its bright, savory flavor is a perfect complement to vine-ripened tomatoes, zucchini, sweet corn, and more. Caesar, Harris Seeds’ special strain of this must-have herb, offers large, aromatic leaves that are easy to harvest and yield bountiful quantities for pesto, cooking, and garnish. The 2-1/2” to 3" leaves cup downward at the edges for a classy appearance, and the 12”-18” well-branched plants are slower to bolt than traditional strains.

  • Squash Z'Oro

    This early-maturing zucchini has uniformly colored, rich yellow fruits with bright green stems. The blocky, cylindrical fruits are extremely straight, with no bulbing and very little curving. It is a prolific yielder with rare greening at the spine or blossom end. Well adapted to all growing areas.


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