Under the Glass: News from the Greenhouse

Leah DiehlThe cool weather is rolling into town and the greenhouse is finally becoming a pleasant place to work! Our extended summer has tested the tenacity of both people and plants, and I’m glad to say that our therapeutic horticulture community has prevailed. The payoff is now many months in the greenhouse of wonderful temperatures, clean air, and what I like to call green fragrance. Come see for yourself!

It’s hard to believe we are almost halfway through our fall programming. We’ve been planting fall crops in our raised beds and propagating lots of our favorite plants in the greenhouse. One of our favorite plant benefactors, Mark Elliott, recently brought us a wonderful bunch of new and unusual plants and we’ve been having fun propagating Bat Flower (Tacca chantrieri) and Rabbit Ears (Ruttya fruticosa), among several others. We hope to have some of these available at our fall plant sale. One of my goals in the therapeutic horticulture program is to introduce and experiment with interesting plants; I believe when we all learn together we build ownership and community, and that leads to group cohesion and a sense of belonging. Those are things we all need no matter our situation.

And finally, I’m excited to announce that after almost three years of proposal development, UF has funded a new undergraduate certificate program in horticultural therapy. The program will be offered under the Environmental Horticulture Department and represents a key partnership between Environmental Horticulture and IFAS, the College of Medicine, and Wilmot Gardens. I will be developing and teaching the courses in this certificate program, and it will be available to a global audience. There were several key people involved in getting this proposal off the ground, including Dr. Craig Tisher. Without the incredible perseverance of Dr. Charlie Guy, however, the certificate program would remain a dream, and for that we are very thankful to him. We plan to offer the first course in the fall of 2019, so stay tuned!

Elizabeth “Leah” Diehl, RLA, HTM
Lecturer, Dept. of Environmental Horticulture, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Director of Therapeutic Horticulture, Wilmot Gardens, College of Medicine