Gardening to improve your health and wellbeing is becoming increasingly popular. This was demonstrated by the large number of speakers showcasing their therapeutic gardening programs at the Australian Therapeutic Landscapes Conference 2017 held in Adelaide on 13 October 2017. Research was sited in presentations to validate the idea that gardening is definitely good for you.
The team from Horticultural Therapy SA did a fabulous job of organising this year’s conference. With the backdrop of Adelaide Botanic Gardens to offer break out relief, inside the National Wine Centre was perfect for the conference venue and networking cocktail party following. The keynote speakers were exceptional, highly informed and approachable.
First was Occupational Therapist, Amy Wagenfeld from USA who spoke on the Nature Connection and how our disconnect from natural environments is making us unwell. Amy stressed an evidence based approach to using plants and gardens for wellness and therapy.
The second speaker, also from USA, was Amy’s co-author and Landscape Architect, Daniel Winterbottom. Daniel showed gardens that he developed for his students including design/build projects that address social and ecological concerns with communities from war torn countries, prisons and mental health facilities.
Steven Wells presented his findings from his recent Churchill scholarship study tour on maintenance of hospital gardens and Sophie Thomson once again saved the world through gardening. A range of concurrent sessions and workshops allowed many projects and programs to be highlighted from around the country.
Next year’s conference will be hosted by newly registered national body, Therapeutic Horticulture Australia Inc. and will be held in Queensland around October. Details soon.
– Toni Salter
Tara Graham-Cochrane (HTSA), Amy Wagenfeld (keynote speaker), Dean Gaston (HTSA), Steven Wells (THA), Rani Blake (THA), Michael Casey (THA), Jo Aquilina (THA), Glenice Bachelor (THA), Barry Quine (THA), Daniel Winterbottom (keynote speaker), Toni Salter (THA).
Seated: Luis Arriola (HTSA)