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"My students gain much more from the therapeutic horticulture program than simply getting experience with plants. My students have been given the opportunity to choose what plants they wanted to plant.  And as a follow up they have been able to take care of their plants and watch with excitement as their seeds and seedlings grow. 
It has had a very calming effect on many of my students. It's a beautiful thing to see when a child who is normally intense seems to relax and enjoy himself." P. Jaye Clark, Special Education Teacher, Austin East Magnet High School 

​If you would like to contribute to the Therapeutic Horticulture program  

The UT Gardens, Knoxville began offering horticultural therapy/therapeutic horticulture programming in 2012. Since that time, we have served over 5,700 individuals who have disabilities or health issues living in the East Tennessee area. Watch a story by local WATE anchor Teresa Smith about the difference therapeutic horticulture is making in the lives of some Austin-East High School students with special needs here.
Horticultural therapy is defined by the American Horticultural Therapy Association as “the participation in horticultural activities facilitated by a registered horticultural therapist to achieve specific goals within an established treatment, rehabilitation, or vocational plan. Horticultural therapy is an active process which occurs in the context of an established treatment plan where the process itself is considered the therapeutic activity rather than the end product.”
Our programming relies on grants, donations and class fees to continue the life-changing programs we offer the community. Our programs are directed by a registered horticultural therapist (HTR). We have the ability to create custom programs to meet the goals and objectives of your client population. We also offer a variety of services from 1-hour therapeutic programs to consulting and therapeutic garden design. We are able to offer programs at the UT Gardens or at your facility.

If your facility is interested in participating in our therapeutic horticulture programs please contact Derrick Stowell at (865) 974-7151 or

"Over the past four years UT Gardens has been one of the best internship sites for the FUTURE Program. Working in a professional garden and greenhouse has been a new experience for students which makes the Gardens and ideal opportunity for job exploration."
Tom Beeson, FUTURE Program​

"The gardening program has given the residents a sense of self-worth again. Many times, especially with residents who suffer from Alzheimer's and dementia, it is hard to find any program that will give them joy. In my experience, gardening can trigger old, precious memories of their childhood and family. Being able to have programs that give residents visible joy and a sense of fulfillment again is a HUGE success in my book." Katelyn Bray, Northshore Senior Living 

Organizations and populations that we have worked with over the years:  

Assisted living and Alzheimer's and other related Dementias: 
Alzheimer's Tennessee Howard Circle of Friends
Dean Hill Assisted Living
Dean Hill Memory Care
Manorhouse Assisted Living
Morning Pointe of Clinton
Morning Pointe of Powell
Morning Pointe of Knoxville
Northshore Heights Senior Living
NHC Place, Farragut - Assisted Living
NHC Place, Farragut - Memory Care
Oakwood Senior Living
Pinnacle Assisted Living
Breakthrough Corporation

Independing Living:
Sherrill Hills Retirement Resort
The Villages of Farragut
Intellectual Disabilities and vocational training:
Austin East Magnet High School CDC Classroom
Heritage High School CDC Classroom
Tennessee School for the Deaf
University of Tennessee's FUTURE Program

Mental Health:
Cherokee Health
Peninsula Hospital

Tennessee Agrability Project

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