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

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).  Now we will put together a team of experienced people to complete the project.

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
  4. Air, humidity, and drafts
  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. Special considerations for growing plants from seed
Section C: Selection of Specific Plants
  1. Specific plant recommendations A-Z
  2. Recommended indoor trees & shrubs, patio tropicals
  3. Recommended windowsill plants & novelty plants
  4. Recommended hanging plants
Section D: Herbs
  1. Growing herbs indoors:  general instructions
  2. Traditional herbs A-Z
  3. Unusual herbs A-Z
Section E: Special Projects: Terrariums, Bonsai, and Topiary
  1. Terrariums
  2. Bonsai
  3. Topiary

The Manual discusses terrariums, bonsai, and topiary, but only with regard to keeping the plants healthy.  It does not provide complete instructions for those specialized activities.

Section F: Health & Safety of Plants and Humans
  1. How to diagnose and treat ailing plants
  2. Pest control:  a brief overview
  3. Poisonous plants to avoid (see also Appendix A)
  4. Safety
Appendix A: 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