Wilmot Gardens has begun construction on the Chapman Healing Garden, on the south side of the conference center, thanks to a generous donation from the Dr. Jules B. Chapman and Annie Lou Chapman Private Foundation.
The Chapman Healing Garden will provide another venue for patients and the public to experience the therapeutic benefits of green spaces and will expand Wilmot Gardens’ diverse garden settings. Specifically, the garden will focus on providing an abundance of sensory experiences related to plants, including their fragrance, texture, shape and color as well as auditory stimulation from a water feature.
The Chapman Healing Garden is a crucial component to Wilmot Gardens’ burgeoning therapeutic horticulture program, which aims to improve the quality of life of individuals with special needs through gardening. While Wilmot Gardens has offered programming in therapeutic horticulture for four years, until now, there was no space for this other branch of the discipline, which encourages a more passive experience within green spaces and provides visitors and participants with another option to promote the healing process.
In recent years, Wilmot Gardens has shifted gears from focusing purely on restoration, which was necessitated by decades of neglect, hurricane and pest damage, and invasive species, to become a burgeoning center of patient care, research and education.
This new branch of research dovetails with the gardens’ three-pronged mission: to assist individuals with special needs through a variety of therapeutic horticulture programming, to provide a peaceful refuge for those receiving care at nearby UF Health facilities, and to serve as a living laboratory for medical and other graduate students where they learn about these therapeutic techniques. Wilmot Gardens is one of the few places in the nation with such a robust therapeutic horticulture program.
The Chapman Healing Garden is expected to be completed by early 2017.