Into every garden, a little rain must fall. Such was the case when the Board of Chosen Freeholders presented a citation commending the Rotary/Rutgers Enabling Gardens Partnership on the creation of a healing space, including a pergola and container plantings, in the courtyard of Richard Hall Community Mental Health Center.
“Because the open courtyard takes in a great deal of heat during the summer, the addition of the pergola, along with some climbing plants, will provide shade and color for the benefit of patients of the Mental Health Center, especially those who participate in the Therapeutic Horticulture program,” said Freeholder Peter S. Palmer. “The horticultural program offers organized gardening sessions with opportunities for patients to participate in hands-on activities for the therapeutic benefits that gardening can provide.”
Horticultural activities that take place in the courtyard have included the planting, harvesting and sampling of a variety of fruits and vegetables, floral arranging, sensory activities and crafts.
The Enabling Gardens initiative is a partnership between Rotary District 7510 and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station Cooperative Extension of Rutgers University. Funding for the project was provided by Rotary District 7510, local Rotary Clubs and Rotarian business owners. The pergola was installed by Archadeck of Morris County.
The Therapeutic Horticulture program, which is run by Park Commission Senior Program Coordinator Leora Shahay, is supported by the Somerset County Park Foundation in conjunction with an annual grant from the Garden Club of Somerset Hills.