Under the Glass: News from the Greenhouse

Leah DiehlIt’s been a pretty quiet summer at the therapeutic horticulture greenhouse – because of the uncomfortable heat and humidity we take a summer hiatus from therapeutic horticulture activities. Most of the plants don’t like it either so we try to decrease our stock as much as possible through plant sales, garden transplants, and inevitably, a small amount of plant loss. The latter is a result mostly of mealybugs and scale that always seem to find and attack the plants in stress. Even some of the succulents, who usually thrive in the heat, suffered a bit this summer.

I was lucky to avoid a lot of the summer heat by going to China, where I presented several lectures on horticultural therapy and healing gardens. I was invited by Harbin Institute of Technology’s (HIT) Architecture and Landscape Architecture Departments to share some of what we are doing here at UF. HIT is exploring the idea of developing a program on rehabilitative landscapes and we shared in a great exchange of information. I hope to continue the relationship between UF and HIT.

About the time this newsletter arrives in your mailbox I will be arriving in Singapore, where I’ve been serving as a consultant and educator in therapeutic horticulture for the last couple of years. Singapore is a very progressive country in many ways, but especially in their belief in the importance of nature access for healthy living. They have been developing accessible green spaces throughout the country, most notably the development of a series of therapeutic gardens.

While in Singapore I hope to shoot some video of their therapeutic gardens and nature programming to incorporate in the courses for our new undergraduate certificate program in horticultural therapy. The first course started this semester and I am happy to report that we have 27 students in the inaugural class, representing four countries and several states. If you’d like to know more about the new certificate program visit: https://hort.ifas.ufl.edu/undergraduate-certificate-in-horticultural-therapy/

Hope to see you in the greenhouse this fall!

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