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Therapeutic Horticulture

en Español

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In New Hanover County, Therapeutic Horticulture thrives through a collaborative effort between the county, N.C. Cooperative Extension, and the Ability Garden. Our mission is clear:

“Empowering the underserved through gardening, education, inclusion, and community engagement.”

Established in 1999 by the Friends of the New Hanover County Arboretum, we aimed to address accessibility, diversity, and inclusion gaps in garden programming. In 2016, we founded our nonprofit, the Ability Garden, to further this mission. Serving as a model program, we cater to diverse needs, including individuals with disabilities, trauma survivors, and those with limited access to resources.

Our Programs:

  • Utilize green spaces at the NHC Arboretum and outreach sites, such as schools and nursing facilities, where we provide horticulture-based therapeutic interventions.
  • Are tailored to the specific needs of each group we serve and focus on socialization, environmental education, positive behavioral support, and vocational training.
  • Harness the power of plants, to reduce stress, enhance concentration, teach new skills, and boost self-confidence.

We extend our impact through educational opportunities, presentations and consultations.

Join us in cultivating growth and well-being through the transformative power of bringing plants and people together.

More information is available at

Ability Garden

NHC Extension

NC State Extension Therapeutic Horticulture

Logo for the Ability Garden nonprofit

Ability Garden Logo

Young adults living with disabilities working in greenhouse

Group working in Lewis Greenhouse