Saturday, September 25, 2021

GardenDC Podcast Episode 76: Horticultural Therapy

In this episode, we talk with Hannah Berisford, CPH, HTC, Owner/Plant Nerd of BotaniGal, LLC, all about Horticultural Therapy. The plant profile is on Castor Bean Plant and I share what's going on locally and in my garden.

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EPISODE LENGTH: 53:28 00:41 Meet Hannah! 03:47 “My entire backyard growing up was a state park” — Hannah, on growing up with a green thumb 04:16 “I actually remember the day, the moment, that I fell in love with plants” — Hannah tells the story of discovering her passion for horticulture 07:34 Hannah explains how she got horticulture therapy-certified in Chicago 08:56 Hannah defines horticultural therapy for us and talks about its growth in popularity 12:15 Growing from seeds, cuttings, plugs, and more at her business 13:42 “It’s unreal” — Hannah, on seeing the impact of horticultural therapy on clients with mental health difficulties 15:46 “I felt like my job wasn’t done” — Hannah explains why she expanded beyond her job at Emerge to serve different populations 17:21 Hannah tells a story about an elderly man with dementia who was able to recall memories while doing horticultural therapy 19:01 Did you know there’s a bacteria in soil that causes the release of serotonin? 19:49 Horticulture therapy is based on “biophilia principle,” which says humans are innately drawn to green spaces 20:44 Kathy and Hannah discuss how the pandemic showed people’s need to be in the natural world, not shut out from it 22:27 “Once you’re a plant parent, you can’t go back!” — Hannah 22:42 Hannah reveals her favorite plants: Hoyas and Ceropegia 24:43 Hannah talks about having a garden on a seven-acre property — most of it belongs to her horse, though! 25:08 Growing a peony collection isn’t just a coincidence for Hannah — It’s linked to a childhood memory 27:33 Although Hannah is a horse person, she hasn’t crossed over to the equine therapy world — “It’s a whole other ball game.” 28:39 How to create your own at-home healing garden 29:48 “It’s important to plant things that you can interact with” — Hannah 31:00 Hannah discusses her talk titled “When Did My Plant Become a Therapist?” that she gave during the AmericanHort Cultivate event this year 32:54 Different types of horticultural therapy gardens: enabling gardens, rehabilitation gardens, and restorative gardens 37:15 Kathy and Hannah talk about their experiences going to the Chicago Botanic Gardens 40:11 Sensory gardens, where you get to touch the plants and experience a variety of textures, are another way to practice horticulture therapy 44:21 You can contact Hannah at, on her business line at (443) 300-7733, her website, her Instagram (@BotaniGal), or Facebook! 46:02 Hannah talks about the “greatest compliment” she has ever received professionally, and why she encourages anyone to pursue horticultural therapy 48:08 Learn about the “exotic-looking” castor bean in this week’s Plant Profile! 50:10 Garden updates: cooler temperatures and planting more seeds in the community garden 
50:44 Upcoming events: Fona Bulb Sale, Northern Alexandria Native Plant Sale, Homestead Gardens talk, Harvesting History’s Bulb Sale, Brookside Gardens talk
Episode Credits: Host and Producer: Kathy Jentz Interview Edits: Charlotte Crook Show Notes: Melena DiNenna

The episode is posted at:

The GardenDC podcast is also available on -

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