Horticultural Therapy


“I came to the farm in the spring of 2015….I took to it right away and still feel a sense of relief when I arrive. Horticultural Therapy became a big part of my life when I was really struggling with my mental illness. It gave me a purpose and a place to retreat.”

Anonymous Participant, Horticultural Therapy Program

Our 2020 Winter Session began on Jan. 13. Please contact Matt Ballard about joining the existing group or being added to our waitlist.

Mondays, 10 AM – 12 PM

Transportation is available round trip from Carr Mill Mall to the Farm’s location with advance notice.

Clinical Referral & Application, plus pre-class Tour with Instructor Required

Instructors:  Caroline Schwarz & Sally Haskett, HTR, North Carolina Botanical Garden

The Horticultural Therapy program at The Farm at Penny Lane is a collaboration between the UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health (UNC CECMH), The North Carolina Botanical Garden and The Farm at Penny Lane. Our goal is to offer weekly sessions that focus on both indoor learning and outdoor gardening in an inclusive group setting. Classes are for adults with a mental health diagnosis served by the Center, and other service providers when space permits and with permission of the instructors.

Horticultural therapy focuses on whole person health. Through working with plants, a client can improve:

  • physical health through activity, fresh air and nutrition from the garden;
  • emotional health through creative expression, caring for plants and productive work;
  • and social health through sharing, working together and building inclusive community.

Programs are offered year round and organized around a seasonal schedule, with 10-12 individual sessions comprising each seasonal program. Contact us to see when groups are opening or if they’re closed for the season.

For programming information or questions, please contact:

Matt Ballard
Program Manager
Office: 919-445-0665
Cell: 919-533-9397