Blog Archives

Horticultural Therapy Program at Somerset Adult Day Center Celebrates Anniversary

Three years ago this month the Horticultural Therapy program at the Adult Day Center (ADC) of Somerset County in Bridgewater was introduced. ~Courtesy of the Adult Day Center of Somerset County

Three years ago this month, the horticultural therapy program at the Adult Day Center (ADC) of Somerset County in Bridgewater was introduced.  

The program was named “Horticultural Connections” by the members of the nonprofit agency committed to providing affordable day services for disabled and elderly residents of Somerset County. Through the seasons members, caregivers, staff, students and volunteers plant, connect, and benefit from the hands-on activities using materials from New Jersey growers.  (more…)

Somerset County youth at risk grows more than plants

For the first time in its 45-year history, Middle Earth introduced Horticultural Therapy program in partnership with Horticultural Therapist Laura DePrado, president of Final Touch Plantscaping LLC, Branchburg.
(Photo: ~Courtesy of Middle Earth)

For the past 45 years, Middle Earth, a nonprofit agency serving at risk youths in Somerset County, has served almost 1,000 youths through 12 mentoring, education, employment readiness and college readiness programs.

For the first time this year, a horticultural therapy program sprouted through a new partnership with me, as horticultural therapist and president of Final Touch Plantscaping, of Branchburg. The horticultural therapy workshops in the Art House Initiative Program were made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. A series of workshops took place at the Bound Brook Community Youth Center throughout May and June. Youth from Middle Earth’s Promise, Center, and Journeys programs participated. Promise is a probation-based program for youth. Center is open to all Somerset County youth ages 12 to 18, and Journeys is a program for youth who need more intensive life skills and mentoring.

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A summer of wellness means healthy minds, healthy bodies

Research reveals gardening has a positive effect on our mental health.
(Photo: ~Courtesy of Laura DePrado)

Research reveals gardening has a positive effect on our mental health. Gardening, planting and planting activities keeps us connected to other living things, allows us to be nurturers, and a sense of responsibility.

Being with plants and flowers allows us to relax, reduces stress, increases physical activity, and allows us to be in the moment, focusing on the present, and connects us to the seasonal cycles and rhythms of nature. (more…)

Atlantic Health leading the way in healing arts

Horticultural Therapy with Laura DePrado, Registered Horticultural Therapist of Final Touch Plantscaping LLC, was launched earlier this year.(Photo: ~Courtesy of Laura DePrado)

Incorporating nature as a partner in creative/expressive arts therapy practices for health and well-being is a growing phenomenon. Creative/expressive arts practices such as art therapy, music therapy and horticultural therapy, are earning a place in treatment and one health system in New Jersey is leading the way in its application in the rapidly changing health care landscape in the state and across the nation.

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Horticultural therapist honored with Chairman’s Award

MaryAnne McMillan (left), immediate past president of the American Horticultural Therapy Association, looked on as Assemblyman Robert Andrzejczak (right), chairman of the Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee, presented Laura DePrado with the Chairman’s Award. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Atwood, legislative director.

TRENTON, NJ — Laura DePrado of Branchburg in Somerset County, NJ, and president of Final Touch Plantscaping LLC received the Chairman’s Award from the Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee of the New Jersey Senate and General Assembly at the State Capitol, here, during celebration of Horticultural Therapy Week New Jersey. The award was presented by Assemblyman Robert Andrzejczak (D-1), chairman of the Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee, at the display showcasing horticultural therapy in Goldfinch Square.

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Green Fingers and Smiling Eyes: Its Horticultural Therapy Week in the Garden State

Horticultural therapy programs offer cognitive, social and physical benefits with year-round application indoors and outdoors

Collette has a traumatic brain injury. She created a terrarium, a garden in a jar, at her own pace in horticultural therapy session in a rehabilitative setting.

Paul is new to adult day care. During his first month he was sad, and felt socially isolated, so he didn’t speak. But then he participated in a horticultural therapy activity. He engaged with the plant material and project at hand. He started singing, and connecting to people (more…)

Former Jets player has ‘Anew’ beginning

Anew Wellness, Jerome Mitchell, CEO, Candice Deglon, Managing Director, and Vernon Gholston, Executive Vice President, connecting with plants in a Horticultural Therapy activity facilitated by Laura DePrado of Final Touch Plantscaping, LLC., in preparation for March 10th in-house workshop. (Photo: ~Courtesy of Laura DePrado)

Anew Wellness in Somerset aims to create a path to wellness for individuals and families experiencing mental and behavioral challenges for adults and adolescents.

Vernon Gholston is starting Anew. The former Ohio State football phenom was selected by the New York Jets with the sixth overall pick in the 2008 National Football League Draft.

Today, following four years in the NFL, the former defensive end/linebacker who grew up in Detroit, Michigan, excelled as a student athlete, ran countless yards and took and gave hit after hit, is pursuing a passion to destigmatize mental health, change the industry standards and better the lives of people dealing with mental health issues. (more…)

The Winter Garden Is Calling

The winter garden is here. All that it holds is alive and dynamic. It’s full of wonder, inspiration, possibilities, promise and hope about the garden and spring to come.
(Photo: ~Courtesy of Laura DePrado)

It’s January 2017. Happy New Year from my mobile office (the kitchen table), which looks out to the backyard and gardens I am watching the first snowfall and distracted and exhilarated by the view.

Large snowflakes are falling in every direction and landing perfectly blanketing everything in their path to create a white, puffy covering. Brilliant red, northern cardinals, and their mates and countless doves, robins, sparrows, nuthatches, feed on homemade suets in the garden. The red-bellied woodpecker pecks away at the bark of the plum tree while a northern cardinal sings and waits his turn at the bird feeder. Large sunflower seed shells fall from feeders as birds split them open and toss them to the ground. (more…)

Langone Medical Center: A pioneer in horticultural therapy

Matthew J Wichrowski MSW HTR, Senior Horticultural Therapist, Clinical Assistant Professor, Rusk Rehabilitation NYU Langone Medical Center, engaged in horticultural therapy demonstration with school group at Jangheung International Integrative Medicine expo October, 2016 (Photo: Courtesy of Emily Shun, Hong Kong Association of Therapeutic Horticulture)

Matthew J Wichrowski MSW HTR, Senior Horticultural Therapist, Clinical Assistant Professor, Rusk Rehabilitation NYU Langone Medical Center, engaged in horticultural therapy demonstration with school group at Jangheung International Integrative Medicine expo October, 2016 (Photo: Courtesy of Emily Shun, Hong Kong Association of Therapeutic Horticulture)

Horticultural therapy at Rusk Rehabilitation treats those with illness, injury, rehabilitative needs, including programs in pediatric, orthopedic, neuromuscular, stroke and head injury.

One of the nation’s first horticultural therapy programs began at Rusk Rehabilitation at NYU Langone Medical Center in the mid 1970s. Langone Medical Center serves individuals with a range of medical conditions, and works with Dr. Howard A. Rusk’s philosophy of treating the entire person, including emotional, psychological and social needs. (more…)

Saying Thanks To Al Murray, A Supporter Of New Jersey Agriculture Industry

congressman-leonard-lance-group-photo-courtesy-of-congressman-lance-office

Celebration of impact of Horticultural Therapy on life of Oldwick Senior at Melick’s Town Farm (Photo: ~Courtesy of Laura DePrado)

As Murray wraps up his 33-year career with the NJDA, he says that he has witnessed many changes and forms of agriculture since 1983.

I recently had the privilege of talking with New Jersey Department of Agriculture Assistant Secretary Alfred Murray about some of the innovations he has seen over the past 33 years in the field of agriculture.

The NJDA has long been an innovative agency with knowledgeable, dedicated individuals; it’s currently led by Secretary of Agricultur, Douglas H. Fisher. Since joining the department, Murray has served three secretaries of agriculture: Arthur R. Brown Jr., the late Charles Kuperus, and Fisher.

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