Intro to Therapeutic Horticulture

Horticulture Therapy

Book Now (http://cereseducation.weteachme.com/l/xx3VqLMr)


*Should this page not show any active dates, please click here

**Next course commences on 9th October 2019

This course is designed to introduce participants to the growing  field of Horticultural Therapy in which gardens and garden based  activities are designed to support the physical, mental and social  health of individuals.  Studies show that gardening is a valuable way to  improve and maintain physical and mental health, bring communities  together and aid rehabilitation.  Gardens and garden based activities  are increasingly being used in settings and services such as hospitals,  schools, Aged Care, Disability, Migrant settlement, Youth and Justice,  and Mental Health.

The course will explore a range of aspects of both garden and  activity design such as understanding client needs, rehabilitation,  community gardens, working with all senses, catering for mobility issues  and includes a visit to SEEDS Communal Garden which is located within  Milparinka Disability Services.

The course will also provide an opportunity for participants to  explore training, volunteering and employment pathways in allied fields  such as Horticulture, Permaculture, Leisure and Health, Community  Services.

Sessions Outline:

Introduction to Therapeutic Horticulture

  •   What is Therapeutic Horticulture and differences to Horticultural Therapy.
  •   Applications and benefits of Therapeutic Horticulture & nature based activities.
  •   Connecting with nature through sensory processes & mindfulness.

Understanding Client Needs & Supporting Diversity

  •   Understanding Client’s needs & abilities.
  •   What diversity means and how to support it in this context.
  •   Potential challenging behaviours & engagement opportunities in the garden.

Community Gardens

  •    Different Community Garden models.
  •    Establishing and identifying key elements in Community Gardens.
  •    Site visit to SEEDS Communal Garden.

Writing and Facilitating Therapeutic Horticulture Programs

  •    The planning process; values, key objectives and elements of a program.
  •     Planning activities; practicalities, preparation, adjustments, feedback & evaluation.
  •     Facilitator framework and qualities.

Sessions involve class discussion and group work activities

Design Fundamentals

  •  Creating a client brief
  •  Site analysis
  •  Design features for consideration

At end of session we do a mud map specific to varying client needs using all the theory covered earlier in the day

Sensory Gardens

  • Exploring senses
  • Sensory walk
  • Understanding each of our senses and how they can effect mood

We re address our mud maps and focus on appropriate alterations to highlight the gardens sensory experiences.

Kitchen Gardens

  •  Benefits of growing food
  •  How and where to grow edible plants
  • Practical applications for varied client groups

Bulk of the day conducting practical exercises of building and planting gardens as well as plant propagation.


  • Industry Guest speaker
  • Exploring industry entry pathways including further learning and volunteering
  • Group discussion of where to from here and map individuals possible pathways.

Trainer Bios:

Justin Calverley is a horticulturalist and  permaculturist with over 20 years experience and will be the lead  trainer for the Urban Farmer course. He has extensive knowledge and  experience in permaculture, garden design, organic gardening and native  bushfood plants. He specialises in edible gardens and is an expert in  fruit tree cultivation and pruning. For over 10 years Justin has taught  workshops at CERES in sustainable gardening and permaculture. Justin was  a regular broadcaster on 3RRR’s ‘Dirty Deeds”, a presenter on Ch  31’s “ The Garden Tap" and now author of The Urban Farmer. 

Michelle Casamento has a Social Sciences back ground and long history working with disadvantaged groups and networks in the Community Services sector.  Including 19 years’ direct client service delivery, managing and supervising homeless programs in the North East of Melbourne.

Michelle is a passionate gardener, currently developing her horticulture skills through various courses at CERES.  She understands our connection with nature and how gardening enhances health and wellbeing on an individual and community level.  Michelle is inspired by current trends in Horticulture as therapeutic means to local food production working towards more socially inclusive and sustainable communities.  She is currently involved with organizations who provide therapeutic horticulture programs and urban food production to support disadvantaged groups.

Jo Townsend: In 2017 Jo completed the CERES Complete Urban Farmer course, following  which connected with trainer Justin Calverley, to combine their areas of  expertise and co write and facilitate the Introduction to Horticulture  Therapy. Jo comes with a foundation in adult education and training  following which she has undertaken a path specialising in the area of  creative and nature therapy, with previous studies in art therapy. This  year Jo has began a Masters in Therapeutic Art Practice and is also  undertaking the CERES Environmental Education course. Jo is passionate  about the power of this work and her role in facilitating a journey of  healing and empowerment through connection to nature, creativity and  self. She is currently involved with running a local Community Garden as  well as various programs and volunteer work, with a variety of   organisations including schools, kinders, and disability services.

** A certificate will be issued upon completion of at least 75% of the course 

* This is an ACFE Approved Pre-accredited Course where the cost is subsidised for eligible participants. For more information about eligibility please click here 

To apply you will need to contact our VET Co-ordinator, Karen Mengell, on (03) 9389 0127 or via email at karen.mengell@ceres.org.au

+ More
What you will learn
  • Horticulture therapy with theory covering a variety of urban farming topics
  • Understanding clients needs and roles of nature connection with emotional and physical rehabilitation
  • Community, sensory and therapeutic gardens, food production
What you will get
  • Understanding of horticultural therapy
  • Skills and knowledge in establishing gardens
  • Pathways and opportunities in the sector

What to bring
  • Comfortable enclosed shoes/boots
  • Gardening gloves
  • Appropriate weather gear eg sunhat
  • Pen and paper
  • Lunch
  • Enthusiasm to learn and get your hands dirty’
What to wear

Casual, sturdy boots and weather appropriate clothing

Appropriate for

Those wanting an introduction to horticultural therapy

Refund & Cancellation Policy

CERES Education requires 48 hours notice via email prior to the start of a class or event for a full refund or transfer.  Refunds and transfers will not be processed if cancellation occurs within 48 hours of the event commencing. We do not offer refunds for missed classes. There are no fees for refunds or transfers. For cancellations prior to the 48 hour cut off, email CERES Education to organise a refund or transfer

+ More
Terms & Conditions

Cancellations and Refunds

CERES reserves the right to cancel workshops due to insufficient numbers.

If we cancel the workshop you will be entitled to a 100% refund, or you may choose to transfer to another date, subject to availability.
If you decide to withdraw 7 or more days prior to the workshop date CERES will retain a 10% administration fee.
If you decide to withdraw less than 7 days prior to the workshop date CERES will retain 100% of your workshop fee.

+ More
3 Reviews
5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

30 August 2019 • Intro to Therapeutic Horticulture

This is a fantastic introductory course into Therapeutic Horticulture. It will give you an over view of all the elements that this new industry can give. The facilitators are kind, generous and passionate about the subject. Learning at Ceres provides you with a fantastic resource in its surrounds, community and values. Highly recommend, it's given me confidence to further my education in the area and an invigorated passion for helping and caring.


25 August 2019 • Intro to Therapeutic Horticulture

I was very disappointed with this course due to little content about therapeutic gardening.


06 July 2018 • Intro to Therapeutic Horticulture

A refreshing perspective on the art of healing. We all know that Nature is our best physician and this short course will prove that to you.

More Classes