Project Description

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In line with current Govt requirements, Workshop and Short Course participants will need to provide evidence of their full vaccination status or medical exemption in order to participate in on-site classes. You will need to check in with our QR code and masks will need to be worn indoors. If you have a valid medical exemption, please get in touch asap. All CERES staff and contractors on site have met vaccination requirements.

Introduction to Therapeutic Horticulture

Learn to design garden-based activities that support the physical, mental and social health of individuals.

This 8-session course will run on the following dates in 2022:

Fri 18 Feb – 8 Apr / Mon 2 May – 27 Jun / Tues 26 Jul – 13 Sep / Mon 17 Oct – 5 Dec

$63 – 640

8 weeks

Book now for Feb
Book now for May

This course is designed to introduce participants to the growing field of Horticultural Therapy in which gardens and garden-based activities are designed to support the physical, mental and social health of individuals. Studies show that gardening is a valuable way to improve and maintain physical and mental health, bring communities together and aid rehabilitation. Gardens and garden-based activities are increasingly being used in settings and services such as hospitals, schools, Aged Care, Disability, Migrant settlement, Youth and Justice, and Mental Health.

The course will explore a range of aspects of both garden and activity design such as understanding client needs, rehabilitation, community gardens, working with all senses, catering for mobility issues and includes a visit to SEEDS Communal Garden which is located within Milparinka Disability Services.

The course will also provide an opportunity for participants to explore training, volunteering and employment pathways in allied fields such as Horticulture, Permaculture, Leisure and Health, Community Services.

*Subject to Government restrictions, components of this course may be delivered either in person or online.

I loved all the hands-on parts of the course, building the no-dig garden, garden design, propagating and the visit to Joe’s market. I also loved learning about all the possible client groups who would benefit from this type of program.

Cate, April 2021

Our presenters stressed the importance of building community coupled with horticulture and encouraged us to embrace this concept each week during class. Theory and practice connected meaningfully!

Participant, April 2021

I loved the balance of practical and theory. It was great to learn from a mix of teachers with a diversity of knowledge. I also appreciated that there was enough time in the lessons for discussion, so we could also learn from each other.
It has made me think more intentionally about the design and use of space.

Participant, April 2021

Course length

8 sessions > 10am – 3pm


Introduction to Therapeutic Horticulture

  • What is Therapeutic Horticulture and the differences to Horticultural Therapy.
  • Applications and benefits of Therapeutic Horticulture & nature-based activities.
  • Connecting with nature through sensory processes & mindfulness.

Understanding Client Needs & Supporting Diversity

  • Understanding Client’s needs & abilities.
  • What diversity means and how to support it in this context.
  • Potential challenging behaviours & engagement opportunities in the garden.

Community Gardens

  • Different Community Garden models.
  • Establishing and identifying key elements in Community Gardens.
  • Site visit to SEEDS Communal Garden.

Writing and Facilitating Therapeutic Horticulture Programs

  • The planning process; values, key objectives and elements of a program.
  • Planning activities; practicalities, preparation, adjustments, feedback & evaluation.
  • Facilitator framework and qualities.

Sessions involve class discussion and group work activities

Design Fundamentals

  • Creating a client brief
  • Site analysis
  • Design features for consideration

At the end of the session, we do a mud map specific to varying client needs using all the theory covered earlier in the day

Sensory Gardens

  • Exploring senses
  • Sensory walk
  • Understanding each of our senses and how they can affect mood

We re-address our mud maps and focus on appropriate alterations to highlight the gardens sensory experiences.

Kitchen Gardens

  • Benefits of growing food
  • How and where to grow edible plants
  • Practical applications for varied client groups

The bulk of the day conducting practical exercises of building and planting gardens as well as plant propagation.


  • Industry Guest speaker
  • Exploring industry entry pathways including further learning and volunteering
  • Group discussion of where to from here and map individuals possible pathways.

** A certificate will be issued upon completion of at least 75% of the course

* This is an ACFE Approved Pre-accredited Course where the cost is subsidised for eligible participants.

ACFE Eligible participants are deemed eligible through an interview process with our career pathways officer. The costs for these participants are $63 – ACFE Information and Eligibility

Contact Karen Mengell on 9389 0127 or for more information and to book an interview.

Justin Calverley is a horticulturalist and permaculturist with over 20 years experience and will be the lead trainer for the Urban Farmer course. He has extensive knowledge and experience in permaculture, garden design, organic gardening and native bushfood plants. He specialises in edible gardens and is an expert in fruit tree cultivation and pruning. For over 10 years Justin has taught workshops at CERES in sustainable gardening and permaculture. Justin was a regular broadcaster on 3RRR’s ‘Dirty Deeds” and “Breakfasters”, is a presenter on Ch 31’s “ The Garden Tap” and author of The Urban Farmer.

Colette Leber has completed the CERES Complete Urban Farmer course in 2016 and the Introduction to Horticulture Therapy in 2019. Colette is a social worker, art therapist and keen photographer with a love for learning and connecting with plants and fungi through exploring, foraging and gardening. She has worked across a variety of social work, counselling, policy, prevention, teaching and facilitation roles for the past over 13 years. Recently she has run creative arts and nature based therapeutic groups for women who have experienced family violence. Colette’s passions lie within the intersections of social, systemic and ecological justice, holistic and creative approaches to wellbeing and healing and connection to self, community, nature and beyond.

What to bring

  • Comfortable enclosed shoes/boots
  • Gardening gloves
  • Appropriate weather gear eg sunhat
  • Pen and paper
  • Lunch
  • Enthusiasm to learn and get your hands dirty’

What to wear

Casual (Warning: This might get messy)

CERES reserves the right to cancel workshops due to insufficient numbers.

If we cancel the workshop you will be entitled to a 100% refund, or you may choose to transfer to another date, subject to availability.

If you decide to withdraw 7 or more days prior to the workshop date CERES will retain a 10% administration fee.

If you decide to withdraw less than 7 days prior to the workshop date CERES will retain 100% of your workshop fee.

Should CERES have to cancel the course due to Government changes relating to the COVD-19 response, we will let you know as soon as possible. Affected participants will be sent a notification that includes details on how to re-book another date or workshop. While cancellations on our part remain refundable within the specified time period, we do hope you will consider bearing with us in these precarious and trying times, and consider the rescheduled date where possible.



Apr | from $55 |