We provide therapeutic horticulture programs that promote people-plant connections to improve the wellness of New Yorkers who live independently but rely on services at community centers and centers for older adults.

Why We Care

Engagement with plants and gardens relieves depression, anxiety and other mood disorders. Guided plant activities support community building and decrease isolation, alleviate stress and, through creating a shared connection with the natural world, offer opportunities to engage with each other. We create inclusive, welcoming spaces, indoors and outdoors, for participants from all walks of life and with all ability levels.

How We Work

The Hort works with community based organizations that support a variety of clients, including older adults, people with mental health disorders and with cognitive and physical disabilities. Programming at each site is customized to meet the needs and interests of residents and site staff. Residents participate at their ability level in activities designed to improve physical, social, emotional, and cognitive wellness.  

Our approach is hands on and workshops are led by educators trained in therapeutic horticulture.  From one-time workshops to long-term groups supported over years, we provide participants with outdoor activities (weeding, watering, planting seeds/plants, and harvesting fresh produce) designed to encourage sensory experience and physical activity and to expand participant knowledge of gardening.  Participants further propagate house plants, cook food made from the garden, and engage in craft activities such as seasonal floral arrangements, plant based self-care products and tea blends.  

More than 1,000 New Yorkers living in supportive and affordable housing sites and residences for older adults participated in our therapeutic horticulture workshops.

Overall, we have seen a high degree of enthusiasm among program participants, resulting in increased socialization at these sites, improved mood, and consistent attendance throughout the program period.

We work in close partnership with dozens of organizations including The Bridge, Lantern Community Services, CAMBA, St Nick’s Alliance, Communilife, Bronxworks and the Dwelling Place. We work at approximately 35 sites.  Our work with older adults at the Willoughby Older Adult Center is funded by the New York Foundation for Eldercare.

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