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Garden Therapy

The Garden Therapy Program, which began in the early 1950s, has provided funds for gardening activities for clients at Central State Hospital in Milledgeville, and regional psychiatric hospitals in Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, and Savannah as well as the Veterans Hospitals and Homes in Dublin, Milledgeville, Atlanta and Decatur. It promotes the therapeutic aspects of gardening. We are expanding this program and asking clubs to become more actively involved with GT projects at many local hospitals/nursing homes/senior centers.

Bellmere Garden Club celebrated National Garden Week 2014 by holding a Flower Arranging Workshop and luncheon, and then delivering 20+ baskets to Nursing homes in the area.Click here for the full article and more photos.

Garden Therapy

A rehab resident partnered with Lisa Feiber, member of the Pine Tree Garden Club in Atlanta, to plant colorful summer annuals on the front patio of a nursing home. As part of the Horticultural Therapy Program, residents filled the pots with flowers and herbs that engage the senses. Click here for the full article and more photos.

GCG is eager to help with GT programs at the State Hospitals, or any other institution, but we are asking our Clubs to help sponsor a project.

Basically, a garden club (or several garden clubs together, council or district) would sponsor the project and come up with matching funds from another source (their own treasuries or other donations), and apply for up to $250 from GCG. Garden Therapy Grant Application

It has to be a hands on type project - whereby the clients at the hospital/nursing home will be doing the activity. Garden Club members do not have to participate physically, the staff can lead the activity. But the garden club(s) need to provide oversite, monitor the use of the funds, make sure the project is completed as planned, and provide verification back to GCG that the monies are spent as stipulated. Show receipts for potting soil, containers, seeds, plants, etc., and photographs taken by the club or staff.

This will require the clubs to be more involved than before, and also give greater accountability of monies spent. Also, projects such as installing raised beds or elevated gardens for the handicapped will be appropriate. Obviously the client won't be doing the actual installation, but these type projects will enable the client to do hands on gardening in the future.

If you have questions, please contact the Garden Therapy Chairman.

Peggy Tucker
1848 Mt Olivet Rd
Hartwell GA 30643

Milledgeville Garden Club members visited three local nursing homes in 2012, bringing flowers, greenery, and coffee mugs, and helped tenants make more than 90 flower arrangements for their enjoyment! Delicious refreshments were served and it was a fun day for all. See "Additional Garden Therapy Activities" below.

Additional Garden Therapy Activities

We of course hope that each GCG Garden Club will donate to the state garden therapy fund to support this grant program. Garden Clubs who donate $25 or more before March 1 receive a Certificate of Appreciation. Send checks to the GCG Treasurer. There are still many gardening activities that clubs can perform to help the less fortunate in our communities. At many facilities, the staff would love for volunteers to come once/twice or on a regular basis to participate in activities with the clients. Or, they would greatly appreciate additional holiday decorations for the community rooms and extra treats, snacks, etc. for parties. Contact your District Garden Therapy Chairman for details. Don't forget your local nursing homes.

Mary Brown Pavilion and Gardens at Central State Hospital The dream of Mary Brown to provide a special place for privacy and beauty for clients at Central State Hospital came true in 1971 when the Pavilion was completed. In 1974 the gardens were planted and dedicated. Mary's promotion, along with GCG support, brought in donations from garden clubs, garden club members, former governors, the Georgia Nurserymen Association and hundreds of others. In addition to being used by Garden Therapy clients, the covered pavilion and eight wooded acres with walkways and benches soon became a favorite spot for all clients and their families.

In 1980-81 the Mary Brown Memorial Fund was established to insure care and maintenance of the Pavilion and Gardens. It was recommended that memorial gifts be accepted, but not solicited, and that a Board of Trustees be established to oversee and approve spending of available funds.

The Board of Trustees has not been active in recent years. In 2005, the GCG Board of Directors voted to use the remaining money in the fund as seed money to replace the deteriorating roof of the Mary Brown Pavilion. Also at this time, a "Raise the Roof" campaign was started to obtain additional money for that purpose. On February 15, 2008 (Arbor Day in Georgia), the Mary Brown Pavilion was rededicated with its new roof. GCG members from throughout the state were on hand to watch the planting of a Yoshino Cherry Tree that the Milledgeville Council purchased to commemorate the occasion.

Christmas Stocking & Easter Egg Project - Now a Community Service Project Garden Clubs throughout the state have enjoyed providing small hand made decorated Christmas stockings or Easter eggs for patients in the hospitals or other local organizations. Please check with the institution to verify that they wish to participate in this program, and whether or not they want you to put candy inside the decoration.

See detailed directions on the patterns. GCG Garden Clubs can choose to send their stockings/eggs to the hospital or organization of their choice.

Fig Leaf Project - Now a Community Service Project Many clubs express their generosity with the "Fig Leaf Project" by sending aprons, socks, underwear, handkerchiefs, jewelry and toiletry items throughout the year, or at the holiday time when you send your stockings or eggs. These items are given to patients who might not otherwise receive such items from their families.

Send Christmas stockings and Easter eggs, donations of clothing and other items to any hospitals or facilities in your local community.

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