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National Garden Bureau hands out Therapeutic Garden Grants

Capper Foundation Gardens of Topeka, Kansas took home first prize and received a $3,000 grant.

October 11, 2022  By National Garden Bureau

National Garden Bureau have announced the therapeutic gardens receiving grants and in-kind donations totalling more than $5,000.

The two winning gardens are:

Capper Foundation Gardens, Topeka, Kansas


First place vote-recipient; winner of a $3,000 grant.

The Capper Gardens consist of raised beds on a corner of their Topeka, Kansas campus, as well as raised and flat garden beds including many sensory components in their inner courtyard and container gardens at their residences. Pediatric therapists use the gardens to work on fine motor, gross motor and communication skills during individualized therapy sessions with the children. The adults they serve work alongside staff and volunteers to prepare and plant the gardens and care for them throughout the growing season. They also use the vegetables and herbs grown in the gardens in cooking classes offered at Capper. The Capper Gardens also provide staff, volunteers and the people they serve the opportunity to get outside and enjoy the beauty of the garden spaces. Their plan for this grant is to purchase additional sensory components for the courtyard gardens, including plants and outdoor musical instruments, as well as containers, plants, seeds, and specialized container garden soil for all the gardens.

Mary Free Bed Therapeutic Garden, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Runner-Up; winner of a $2,000 grant.

One of the Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital (MFB) Recreational Therapy offerings is horticulture therapy in an accessible therapy garden, which provides patients the opportunity to strengthen skills and connect with nature. Rehabilitation specialists work with patients on a variety of activities that focus on the skills needed to garden following an injury or illness, such as shopping to purchase seeds and tools, planting in raised beds, using gardening tools, and safely transitioning to uneven surfaces. The program also helps heal patients’ mental health. If selected for a grant, MFB would expand upon this program by creating a “Live Wall.” This Wall will be made entirely out of plants and will create a more intimate and healing therapy garden area for patients and visitors. The Wall will be positioned so that it blocks the view of the parking area, creating a calmer setting where patients and families can sit and experience a brief escape from a traditional hospital setting.

The judges were as followed:

  • Patty Cassidy, Vice President of the American Horticultural Therapy Association
  • Barbara Kreski, Retired Director, Horticultural Therapy, Chicago Botanic Garden
  • Alicia Green, Buehler Enabling Garden Coordinator, Chicago Botanic Garden
  • Isabel Fuenzalida, Culture & Organizational Development, Sakata Seed America
  • Mike Lizotte, Owner/Managing Partner at American Meadows

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