The Potential on the Doorstep: The Importance of Gardens in the Psychological Well-being of Older People
Sue Jackson

This paper explores the beneficial relationship between older people and nature in residential settings. More specifically, it examines the qualities of gardens and the views of natural elements in domestic landscapes. A pilot study of ten older people was conducted in which individuals identified, through detailed qualitative interviews conducted in their own homes, the factors they felt were important and the meanings they attached to their gardens. The resultant apparent positive feelings generated by viewing aspects of nature illustrate the importance of the external environment to older people, not only in their psychological well-being but as a way to enhance independent living.

It is suggested from this study that the cues provided by viewing nature and big skies may allow retrieval of autobiographical memories, which allow older people to experience a greater sense of freedom and take them beyond their four walls. The discussion considers the importance of sensory stimulation, particularly in the visual and aural realms, memory recall, seasonality, and the passing of time in the enhancement of psychological well-being. The conclusions suggest ways in which this study can be progressed in practice.

Bio-monitoring Human Heart Rate and Caloric Expenditure Responses to Horticultural Activity
Mitsukimi Sugimoto, Hyejin Cho, and Richard H. Mattson

Physical energy expenditures of 36 university students were measured while doing horticultural or non-horticultural activities. Measurements were made of heart rate, caloric energy expenditure, weight change, and body fat during a 30-minute test period. Comparisons were made of activities done while sitting in a wheelchair, standing, or resting. Students completing horticultural activities had significantly faster heart rate recovery time as compared to those completing non-horticultural activities. Caloric energy expenditure and heart rates were significantly higher for students in all sitting and standing activities as compared to resting responses. The positive affective state of students was increased significantly while doing both horticultural and non-horticultural activities.

An Exploration of the Meaning and Effects of Horticultural Therapy on Human Health and Well-Being
Debra L. Fetherman, Alan Levine, Stephen Burke and Mary Alice Golden

The purpose of this study was to explore the essence of people-plant interactions during horticultural therapy sessions and to discover the effects of horticultural therapy on human health and well-being. Two central questions guided the inquiry: (1) How do registered horticultural therapists know their clients’ interaction with plants is meaningful; and (2) How do registered horticultural therapists describe the effects of horticultural therapy on their clients’ health and well-being? The present study was an exploratory, instrumental, collective case study based in a qualitative research design. The sample included three registered horticultural therapists with the American Horticultural Therapy Association at three different social horticultural therapy programs/sites in the same Northeastern U.S. state. The major themes revealed across all cases and information sources were engagement with life in the moment and level of participation. The present study suggested horticultural therapy allows older adults in assisted care facilities to engage with life. This study also added credibility to the claim that horticultural therapy provides common interests and shared experiences to clients. The study affirmed social horticultural therapy programs fit a psychosocial model of treatment as well as the model of successful aging (Rowe and Kahn, 1997).

A Horticultural Therapy Probation Program: Community Supervised Offenders
Bill Hale, Gary Marlowe, Richard H. Mattson, Ph.D., Jimmy Don Nicholson and C.A. Dempsey, Ed.D.
(No abstract)