Late winter and early spring are a wonderful time in the greenhouse. First, the temperature inside is warm and a bit balmy, even though the weather on the other side of the glass may be cold and windy. Second, things are really growing in the greenhouse – everyday there appears a new flower, a new seedling, or something that you’re sure wasn’t there the day before. Right now we are bursting at the seams with delicious herbs and veggies, colorful coleus and caladiums, amazing succulents and elephant ears, and lots of other interesting plants. We were excited to share many of these with our customers at our spring plant sale, but lots will be going home with our therapeutic horticulture participants and volunteers as well. If you did not make it to our plant sale, come on by another time – we always have something interesting for sale or to visit.
Our spring programming comes to an end in May, at which time we take a break for the summer. As you can imagine, a glass house in Florida gets pretty hot in the summer months, so the only living things happy in the greenhouse time are our extensive collection of succulents. They thrive in the heat and sun, while we humans tend to wilt. The break also gives our participants the chance to focus on their own gardens at home and practice many of the skills they have learned in our program. Whether their gardens are in the backyard or on the windowsill, we hope they are full of plants they started in the greenhouse.
The end of May is also the time I return to Singapore to finish out the in-person portion of my research fellowship with the Singapore National Parks Board. I’ve been working with the government to bring horticultural therapy programming, research, and education to the country. It’s been a wonderful opportunity to learn about Singapore and their impressive recognition of the importance of nature to health and happiness. Despite the country’s small size and high population density, they are dedicated to increasing access to greenspace for their residents, young and old. This is an admirable priority and one that we can all learn from – not so different, albeit on a larger scale, then our mission at Wilmot Gardens.
Elizabeth “Leah” Diehl, RLA, HTM, Director of Therapeutic Horticulture, Wilmot Gardens