New Jersey is the first state in the nation to name March 20-26 Horticultural Therapy Week, coinciding with the start of spring.
The designation is meant to showcase the benefits of connecting people and plants in vocational, social and therapeutic programs to improve the quality of life. Gov. Christie signed the legislation on May 11, 2015.
Laura DePrado, a registered horticultural therapist who owns Final Touch Plantscaping in Somerset County, spearheaded the New Jersey legislation. She shared some facts about horticultural therapy.
- Horticultural therapy is the process and practice of using plants and gardens in human healing, rehabilitation and training.
- It helps improve memory, cognitive abilities, task initiation, language skills, and socialization.
- In physical rehabilitation, it can help strengthen muscles and improve coordination, balance, and endurance.
- In vocational horticultural therapy settings, people learn to work independently, problem solve, and follow directions.
- Horticultural therapy was practiced by Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.