The Chapman Healing Garden will provide another venue for patients and the public to experience the therapeutic benefits of greenspaces 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 was made possible due to a generous donation from The Dr. Jules B. Chapman and Annie Lou Chapman Private Foundation.
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 greenspaces 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 thriving 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 to learn about these therapeutic techniques. Wilmot Gardens is one of the few places in the nation with such a robust therapeutic horticulture program.
Planting of the new garden will be underway throughout the fall, with completion anticipated by early 2017. A dedication ceremony is expected to take place in February 2017.