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Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Boothbay, ME

August 11th was a beautiful day for NEHTN’s summer workshop meeting at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay, Maine.  We had a great turn out with additional public attendees who wanted to learn more about Horticultural Therapy and how it’s applied. It was a full day with the business meeting that started the day off, and then we put our creative Garden hands in action by making living wreaths. This was an ideal project for a warm summer day as we worked with cool drenched spaghnum moss, mini ferns, spiked moss and succulents. Each participant took their living wreath to hang at their home for the rest of the growing season.  The process of making these 8” living wreaths exercises gross and fine motor skills, attention to pressure and details while emphasizing on the sense of touch.  Irene Barber, who led the activity likes to use this activity for her visually impaired HT participants so that they can feel positive about their process and accomplishment of making something that doesn’t require the sense of sight.  It’s an effective exercise for so many different populations and can be modified easily with basic tools.  After the 45 minute activity, a tasty lunch was provided by CMBG, then we presented a panel discussion to several public attendees who had a chance to hear the diverse applications and perspectives of HTRs therapeutic practices. The presentation gave everyone a chance to assess, evaluate and consider opportunities in each other’s programs and deeply inform those unaware of HT.  We ended the workshop with a simulating and inspiring tour of the Lerner Garden of the Five Senses which serves as the setting where Irene Barber runs her HT program in the growing season. Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens was thrilled to host this workshop and they hope NEHTN returns in the near future.