I hope everyone had a great New Year! We spend the week between Christmas and New Year at our cabin in Northern Michigan. We were so thrilled to have a bit of time to just to unwind and relax. The Christmas season was super busy, which is a good thing. I have included a slideshow of photos in the winter wonderland that is Up North Michigan and of our cabin. Our cabin was built around 1867. The heat is by propane and wood burning stove. We love it. It's rustic little two bedroom cabin on about an acre completely surrounded by Huron National Forest. We aren't far from Mio Pond and the Au Sable river. I get to do one of my most enjoyed hobbies, which is nature photography.
Speaking of another interest of mine, which is helping people who have disabilities or other struggles such as addiction or mental health issues. For those who don't know, I am the mother of wonderful 22-year-old son who was diagnosed with high functioning autism (PDD NOS) when he was about 4 years of age. We have done all kinds of different therapy over the years such as music therapy, Playtime/Floortime therapy, occupational therapy, art therapy, speech therapy, social therapy... and more therapy! . My son has now graduated from high school and is holding a job full-time and we are very proud of his accomplishments.
So when I heard about something called horticulture therapy, I thought what a great way to marry two things I love to do - horticulture and helping people with disabilities and other conditions.
What is horticulture therapy?
Horticultural therapy is defined by the American Horticultural Therapy Association as the engagement of a person in gardening and plant-based activities, facilitated by a trained therapist, to achieve specific therapeutic treatment goals. Wikipedia
So let's dig a little deeper. Horticulture therapy is a professional practice that uses plants and gardening to improve mental and physical health. Who does a horticulture therapist help? A horticulture therapist works with any group that can benefit from interaction with plants, including veterans, children, the elderly and those dealing with addiction and mental health problems.
I began to explore career training a bit but I hadn't had any luck finding a program in my area. Distance learning was available at select few universities and most had waitlists. I applied in in summer 2020 for that fall, but the class was full. However, I am happy to announce I have officially been accepted to the University of Florida Distance learning Horticulture Therapy Program beginning next week. I am very excited to learn this discipline.
When my certification is finished, I will begin adding horticulture therapy classes to my business at Lavender Rose Farms, LLC. Exactly how that will look is to be determined. I may offer some therapy on site on my property since I do have pretty expansive raised beds, the lavender field, and a wildflower meadow. I may also contract out to other organizations such nursing homes, non-profts, or other organization to teach some classes. I may do or a combination of both types.
Does this mean I am leaving lavender farming, floral design, and my Etsy and e-commerce shop? No, not at this time. In the next 5-10 years I will probably start to wind down the farm as my husband I would like to retire and hopefully that would be up at our cabin We want to simplify life. We love Northern Michigan - yes even the winters.
The therapy certificate is something I can still do after my lavender farming time is done.
I am very excited about this new direction for me and Lavender Rose Farms. LLC!