Please Meet: Maxel Ng – Short-term Scholar from Singapore

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Hello there, dear readers! I’m Maxel, hailing all the way from sunny Singapore. Currently, I find myself here at the University of Florida, working alongside the wonderful team at Wilmot Botanical Gardens. Allow me to rewind a bit and share how I ended up on this exciting path. 

You see, I’ve had this long-standing fascination with plants and how they connect with people. There’s a genuine magic in the way we connect with the nature around us. This fascination led me to dive into the world of plant science, a passion I pursued as an undergrad in Australia.  

I was fortunate enough to land a position at the National Parks Board back home. There, I had the privilege of contributing to the creation of the therapeutic gardens and horticultural programs that catered to a diverse array of individuals, from those with autism to those grappling with cognitive challenges. Witnessing the smiles on their faces brought upon by the therapeutic horticulture program was nothing short of heartwarming. 

One of the standout moments in my journey was teaming up with medical experts and scientists to delve into how horticultural therapy could enhance mental and physical wellbeing of our beloved seniors (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30096932/). Believe me; it’s not just about pretty flowers; it’s about enhancing the quality of their life in meaningful ways.  

Now, here I am, at the University of Florida, surrounded by the vibrant energy of Gators and collaborating closely with Leah and her wonderful team at Wilmot Botanical Gardens. Together, we’re planning some truly exciting horticultural therapy programs aimed at making a tangible difference in the lives of those wrestling with developmental disabilities, Parkinson’s disease, and substance abuse challenges, among other things. 

Beyond the world of academia and our passion-driven projects, I’m genuinely thrilled about exploring Gainesville. Word has it that this place boasts some incredible parks, and there’s even a chance to get up close and personal with magnificent manatees. Now, that’s an opportunity I can’t wait to seize! 

During my stay here, I’d be absolutely delighted to engage in conversations with anyone curious about my work. Feel free to pay a visit to the greenhouse or drop me an email. Let’s chat about the extraordinary bond between people and plants and how, together, we can make the world a greener, happier place.

That’s me conducting a therapeutic horticulture program at Bedok Reservoir Therapeutic Garden, shelters are important in sunny and warm places as the cooler and much more comfortable environment for participants in TH program.
Punggol Waterway Therapeutic Garden has an interesting planter design that looks like the shape of peanut and clover and the design encourages interaction amongst participants as they garden around this wheelchair accessible planter.
Having a visible circulation pathway is essential of a therapeutic garden as they provide visual safety for users and their caregivers while simple loops around different features encourage movement and exercise as shown in Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Therapeutic Garden.

Maxel Ng