Certificate in Horticultural Therapy

Explore the many benefits of connecting people and plants. Learn to create seasonal HT activities using gardening – indoors or out, nature activities, floral arranging techniques, and botanical arts and crafts, suitable and adaptable for all ages and abilities. People interested in health care and human services can learn to develop professionally directed plant, gardening and nature activities for diverse populations, designed to optimize physical and mental health of participants and improve quality of life.

The Horticultural Therapy Certificate curriculum offers a comprehensive look at the principles and practices for the professional use of horticulture as therapy. This four-part program focuses on the core skills and knowledge recommended for HT education by the Canadian Horticultural Therapy Association (CHTA). The 200 hours of required student course work throughout the year include 120 classroom hours plus tours, independent study and assignments. The course is enriched with hands-on experience in a therapeutic setting and guest experts on special populations. Assignments are practical and build toward a final program proposal and presentation.

Upon successful completion of this Certificate course and all assignments students will have demonstrated the ability to:

1. Explain the therapeutic benefits Horticultural Therapy (HT) activities
2. Apply horticulture knowledge to develop HT program content
3. Develop individualized therapeutic programs designed to meet established goals and objectives with measurable outcomes.
4. Create and evaluate a series of seasonal HT project ideas in a therapeutic environment.
5. Estimate budget proposals, source plants and materials and determine funding resources.
6. Document assessment, progress notes and program evaluation to communicate with clinical care team and service providers.

Toronto Botanical Garden is pleased to work with Margaret Nevett, Registered Horticultural Therapist. Margaret is an experienced and enthusiastic HT practitioner and educator. Her company, Gardening For Life, provides Horticultural Therapy consultation and individualized programs in long term care and rehabilitation facilities. Margaret’s passion for garden making developed through studies in horticulture from the University of Guelph, garden design with international garden designer John Brookes, and Horticultural Therapy training in Ontario and British Columbia.GardenforLife



A Certificate of Completion will be issued including documentation required by CHTA for voluntary registration process.
Four Part Program

1. Foundations of Horticulture As Therapy – Nov to Dec, 2014
2. The Therapeutic Horticulture Professional – Feb to March, 2015
3. Horticultural Therapy Techniques and Settings – June to July, 2015
4. HT Management & Community Development – Nov to Dec, 2015

HT Certificate Part One: Foundations of Horticulture As Therapy – SOLD OUT
Sat and Sun, November 8 & 9, Nov 22 & 23, Dec 6 & 7 and Sat, Dec 13, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Public $600; Members $550
Required Text: $60 Horticulture as Therapy: Principles and Practice, Sharon P. Simson, PhD
Explore the evolution of the therapeutic use of gardens and gardening! This introduction to professional practice in Horticultural Therapy (HT) will focus on the many proven benefits of connecting with plants. HT is planned, deliberate and documented. Examine the therapeutic foundations used to create HT programs for diverse populations. Horticulture study at Allan Gardens includes the fundamentals needed to create successful hands-on HT programs.
[PG14F12] Margaret Nevett, HTR
[PG14F13] Horticulture as Therapy; Principles and Practice, Sharon P. Simson, PhD and Martha C. Straus, eds.

 Email us at adulted@torontobotanicalgarden.ca to sign up for the waiting list of our second offering of Part One in 2015.

HT Certificate Part Two: The Therapeutic Horticulture Professional – SOLD OUT
Weekends, Feb. 28 & March 1, March 7 & 8, April 11 & 12 & Saturday, April 18, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Public $600; Members $550

*This course is only available to those students who have successfully completed Part One* 

Using horticulture as a therapeutic modality requires program planning designed to achieve specific goals and objectives. Learn to develop programs and treatment plans that are directly related to reducing a client’s presenting problems and symptoms. Create HT programs that are supported and validated by documentation through assessment, progress notes and program evaluation, and communicated to interprofessional team members and service funders. Understand the needs of unique populations, develop appropriate HT program proposals and explore funding sources. Seasonal HT activities involve hands-on horticulture experience in propagation, organic and edible gardening techniques.

HT Certificate Part Three: Horticultural Therapy Techniques and Settings
Weekends, June 27 & 28, July 11 & 12 and July 25 & 26, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Public $600; Members $550

*This course is only available to those students who have successfully completed Part One & Part Two* 

Session planning, with groups or one-on-one, involves adapting activities to meet diverse needs and developing methods to evaluate progress. Learn to create therapeutic environments using tools and techniques that enable people of all abilities to participate in HT activities, indoors and out, year round. Budgeting and sourcing of plants and materials are explored. Horticulture expertise includes greenhouse management, raised beds and container gardening, and selecting and growing plants for creative botanical arts and crafts.


HT Certificate Part Four: HT Management & Community Development
November/Dececember, 2015. Dates TBD
Public $600; Members $550

*This course is only available to those students who have successfully completed Part One, Part Two & Part Three* 

Business and management skills are required to practice HT through a contracting business model or employment opportunities. Discover how to market your program proposals, determine funding strategies and consider grants, fundraising and resources for program support and community development. Gain proficiency and confidence to practice HT through the presentation of your comprehensive HT program proposal detailing design, implementation and management. The future of HT includes professional development and research opportunities.

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  • Kelly luvisotto

    I am very interested in the HT certificate. I currently work as a program Manager at a retirement home in Barrie. I have started a planting program with my residents and it has been well received. Eventually I would like to offer horticulture programs in my community.

    • TBG

      That is great to hear Kelly. I’m sure our Adult Education coordinator would love to connect with you. Here name is Rebecca Lamb, and can be reached at adulted@torontobotanicalgarden.ca Feel free to drop her a note.

  • http://notavailable Juan Sanchez

    I work with the City Of Toronto engage at the moment with a new Community Beautification Project engaging youth , newcomers and ESL students. (Question) can I get through the City in this program. Thanks for replyng.

  • Kwok-Leung Ho

    I am a qualified horticulturist and am very interested in the Horticultural Therapy Certificate. I am currently working at an old age home in South Africa and would like to use horticulture as therapy.
    Is there an online program available? If not, can you suggest an alternative option for me to do the course?

  • Adult Education Department

    Hello Kwok-Leung – sounds like you’re doing great work in South Africa already with horticulture and seniors, this is our first year of the Horticultural Therapy Program so we’re not able to offer it long distance yet but hopefully one day!