NGB announces recipients of 2021 Therapeutic Garden Grant
Photo courtesy of the National Garden Bureau

NGB announces recipients of 2021 Therapeutic Garden Grant

Inova Mt. Vernon Hospital, the first-place recipient, received a $3,000 grant.


After collecting tens of thousands of votes from the public, National Garden Bureau, American Meadows, Sakata Seed America and Corona Tools have announced the three therapeutic gardens receiving grants and in-kind donations totaling more than $5,000.

The three winning gardens are:

First place vote-recipient; winner of a $3,000 grant.

Inova Mt. Vernon Hospital is a 67-bed, in-patient acute rehab hospital serving patients with cerebrovascular accidents and strokes, brain and spinal cord injuries and/or amputees. Over the years, the Therapeutic Recreation (TR) team has incorporated gardening into their services and the garden has evolved from a 10’ x12’ raised garden to a Therapeutic Pavilion, where teams of trained therapists use gardening tasks to work on individual patient goals. The TR team collaborated with a Horticulture Therapist to create a year-round, interdisciplinary program. Weekly group sessions engage patients in a variety of activities, including seed starting, propagation, floral arrangement, accessible garden techniques and mindfulness activities. All sessions are centered around a plant metaphor that relates to a patient’s experience in rehabilitation and healing to the plant life cycle/nature.

Runner-Up; winner of a $1,000 grant.

The Children’s Center serves children with special needs, serving approximately 100 children each month. The center sees possibilities, not challenges in the children they serve. Their horticultural therapy curriculum brings nature-based programs into both the indoor and outdoor classrooms. Lessons have a hands-on focus and are designed to strengthen memory, enhance cognitive abilities, build task initiation, develop language skills and increase socialization levels. Funding from the Therapeutic Garden Grant will be used to purchase pine needles, soil, home gardening kits, adult tools and adaptive gardening tools for students.

Runner-Up; winner of a $1,000 grant.

The Vera A. Scherer Garden partners with Morristown High School and welcomes special needs students to work in the garden as part of the vocational program. The students learn both gardening and work skills like learning to be on time for work, remembering their tools and doing their very best each time they are working. They also learn to weed, water, plant and harvest. Each month they teach a new horticulture topic and have a short discussion. After the discussion, they do a horticulture craft which may include planting, painting, or creating a gift. They learn about the plants and use the plants harvested from the garden. The craft helps them exercise their fingers and improve fine motor skills as well as making decisions and creating something to share.

National Garden Bureau, American Meadows, Sakata Seed America and Corona Tools would like to recognize all of the grant applicants that participated this year. All are listed on the NGB website.  NGB encourages support of these and other therapeutic gardens by the industry, local communities, and individuals.

The judges who read through all applications and narrowed them down to the three finalists deserve a huge thank-you. Those judges are:

  • Patty Cassidy, vice president of the American Horticultural Therapy Association
  • Barbara Kreski, retired director, Horticultural Therapy, Chicago Botanic Garden
  • Isabel Fuenzalida, culture & organizational development, Sakata Seed America
  • Mike Lizotte, owner/managing partner at American Meadows
  • Nick Pucci, product manager at Bayer Crop Science and NGB president

NEW! Anyone interested in becoming an individual member in order to support programs like this can join at the $50 or $100 Associate Member level.

For more information about National Garden Bureau, please contact Diane Blazek.