Green Thumbs for a Cause: A Plant Care Manual for Therapeutic Horticulture

The concept for this manual came from my volunteer work 1972-2011 with the elderly in six skilled nursing facilities (two in Michigan and four in Connecticut).

This Manual can be used in other types of facilities and can be adapted for use in home care.  Although my experience was with large eldercare facilities, current thinking emphasizes the multiple benefits of providing home care whenever feasible.  There are new concepts in eldercare that replicate a home-like setting and we should encourage these efforts.

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Section A: Basic Plant Care
  1. Water
  2. Light
  3. Temperature and drafts
  4. Humidity
  5. Plant food
  6. Cleaning and pruning plants
Section B: Potting & Propagation
  1. Pots, containers, and the re-potting process
  2. Potting soil and internal drainage
  3. Propagation techniques
  4. Growing plants from seed
Section C: Selection of Specific Plants
  1. Specific plant recommendations A-Z
  2. Windowsill foliage plants
  3. Plants that get watered every two weeks
  4. Plants with colorful flowers or bright foliage
  5. Scented plants
  6. Bulbs for forcing indoors
  7. Novelty plants for fun and learning
  8. Hanging plants
  9. Indoor trees & shrubs, patio tropicals
  10. Beginner plants
Section D: Herbs
  1. Growing herbs indoors
  2. Traditional herbs A-Z
  3. Unusual herbs A-Z
Section E: Succulents
Section F: Special Projects: Terrariums, Bonsai, and Topiary
  1. Terrariums and dish gardens
  2. Bonsai
  3. Topiary

The Manual recommends books about terrariums, bonsai, and topiary. 

Section G: Dried Flowers

Dried flowers, pressed flowers, and dried weeds

Section H: Health & Safety of Plants and Humans
  1. How to diagnose and treat ailing plants
  2. Pest control:  a brief overview
  3. Poisonous plants (see also the Appendix)
  4. Safety tips
Appendix: Finding Information about Plants Poisonous to Humans
  1. Resources available via the World Wide Web
  2. Electronic books (e-books):  top recommendations
  3. Print books:  top recommendations

Horticultural Therapy, photo Alan Eddy