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Intro to Working in Therapeutic Horticulture

Intro to Working in Therapeutic Horticulture

Learn to design garden-based activities that support the physical, mental and social health of individuals.

This course is designed to introduce participants to the growing field of Horticultural Therapy in which gardens and garden-based activities are designed to support the physical, mental and social health of individuals. Studies show that gardening is a valuable way to improve and maintain physical and mental health, bring communities together and aid rehabilitation. Gardens and garden-based activities are increasingly being used in settings and services such as hospitals, schools, Aged Care, Disability, Migrant settlement, Youth and Justice, and Mental Health.

The course will explore a range of aspects of both garden and activity design such as understanding client needs, rehabilitation, community gardens, working with all senses, catering for mobility issues and includes a visit to SEEDS Communal Garden which is located within Milparinka Disability Services.

The course will also provide an opportunity for participants to explore training, volunteering and employment pathways in allied fields such as Horticulture, Permaculture, Leisure and Health, Community Services.

Course Content

Course length

Eight sessions: 10am – 3pm


Introduction to Therapeutic Horticulture

  • What is Therapeutic Horticulture and the differences to Horticultural Therapy.
  • Applications and benefits of Therapeutic Horticulture & nature-based activities.
  • Connecting with nature through sensory processes & mindfulness.

Understanding Client Needs & Supporting Diversity

  • Understanding Client’s needs & abilities.
  • What diversity means and how to support it in this context.
  • Potential challenging behaviours & engagement opportunities in the garden.

Community Gardens

  • Different Community Garden models.
  • Establishing and identifying key elements in Community Gardens.
  • Site visit to SEEDS Communal Garden.

Writing and Facilitating Therapeutic Horticulture Programs

  • The planning process; values, key objectives and elements of a program.
  • Planning activities; practicalities, preparation, adjustments, feedback & evaluation.
  • Facilitator framework and qualities.

Sessions involve class discussion and group work activities

Design Fundamentals

  • Creating a client brief
  • Site analysis
  • Design features for consideration

At the end of the session, we do a mud map specific to varying client needs using all the theory covered earlier in the day

Sensory Gardens

  • Exploring senses
  • Sensory walk
  • Understanding each of our senses and how they can affect mood

We re-address our mud maps and focus on appropriate alterations to highlight the gardens sensory experiences.

Kitchen Gardens

  • Benefits of growing food
  • How and where to grow edible plants
  • Practical applications for varied client groups

The bulk of the day conducting practical exercises of building and planting gardens as well as plant propagation.


  • Industry Guest speaker
  • Exploring industry entry pathways including further learning and volunteering
  • Group discussion of where to from here and map individuals possible pathways.

** A certificate will be issued upon completion of at least 75% of the course

ACFE subsidised course places
  • This is an ACFE Approved Pre-accredited Course where the cost is subsidised for eligible participants.

ACFE Eligible participants are deemed eligible through an interview process with our career pathways officer. Find out more information about ACFE eligibility HERE. The costs for these participants are $73.

If you are interested in an ACFE place please fill out the enquiry form below and our team will be in touch soon.

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Trainer Profiles


Justin Calverley has been teaching our Complete Urban Farmer course for 10 years. When he is not taking groups of budding green thumbs through all manner of garden know-how, he runs his own Horticultural Consultation Design and Education business, Sensory Gardens. Justin‘s approach is to encourage interaction and understanding of the natural world’s systems via a mix of theory and practical sessions which see his students gain hands-on skills and knowledge. The Complete Urban Farmer course also explores industry skills which has seen some students be inspired to make Horticulture their life-long career. Justin is a regular broadcaster on 3RRR’s “Breakfasters” and ABC “Evenings”. He is also the author of “The Urban Farmer”, available at CERES Nursery.


What to bring and expect

What should I bring?

  • Comfortable enclosed shoes/boots
  • Gardening gloves
  • Appropriate weather gear eg sunhat
  • Pen and paper
  • Lunch
  • Enthusiasm to learn and get your hands dirty

What should I wear?

  • Casual clothing (Warning: This might get messy)
Terms and Conditions

Our booking and refund policies, concession pricing information, FAQs, as well as other general terms and conditions can be viewed here.


June 17 @ 10:00 am 3:00 pm

8 weeks
CERES Brunswick, Corner of Roberts & Stewart Streets, Brunswick East, Victoria.

Concession available.
ACFE subsidised place: $73



The numbers below include tickets for this event already in your cart. Clicking “Get Tickets” will allow you to edit any existing attendee information as well as change ticket quantities.
Intro to Therapeutic Horticulture June Full Fare
$ 900.00
9 available
Intro to Therapeutic Horticulture June Concession
$ 810.00
9 available
Intro to Therapeutic Horticulture June CERES Member
Members with a valid 2024 membership to CERES. Join at ceres.org.au/membership
$ 810.00
9 available

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