Horticultural Therapy Application and Practicum

I.     Course Prefix/Number: HTC 110

       Course Name: Horticultural Therapy Application and Practicum

       Credits: 5 (4 lecture; 2 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

Successful completion of HTC 101 with minimum grade of C.

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course continues the study of horticultural therapy. Emphasis is on application of theory, principles, goal development and session planning. Each student will submit a final project which is a program proposal including a budget, session plans, justification, site assessment and more. During required days on-site at the Chicago Botanic Garden, students will work in small groups to design a therapeutic garden.

IV.   Learning Objectives

Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to:

  1. Select plants that will support the goals and activities of the program and its spaces.
  2. Grow 12 types of annual plants, charting progress, weather conditions, maintenance, pest, and disease concerns, uses of plant material for activities, and develop recommendations for plant selection in horticultural therapy programming.
  3. List and evaluate the critical issues in planning programs, activities, and site design.
  4. Plan program content (activities, curriculum, materials, timelines) to meet goals and to match participant’s abilities and interests.
  5. Execute program activities to actual participant groups in therapeutic settings, adapting activities as audience profile requires.
  6. Create and complete methods to evaluate the effectiveness of activities, programs, and spaces.
  7. Develop program proposals for a variety of agency settings to provide horticultural therapy benefits for a broad range of recipients.
  8. Create and present a comprehensive proposal that applies knowledge gained in the course to a real-life scenario.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at
www.oakton.edu/studentlife/student-handbook.pdf

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. Horticultural Skills
    1. Appropriate plant selection.
    2. Development of non-toxic horticultural strategies for growing vegetables, culinary herbs, and flowers.
    3. Documentation of plant success and recommendations for usage in horticultural therapy activity sessions.
  2. Program Needs Assessment
    1. Complete process of agency needs assessment through utilization of session planning forms.
    2. Develop master plan for space/garden design, choice of plants, materials, and tools, to facilitate achievement of therapeutic goals through horticultural therapy sessions.
    3. Apply process of needs assessment within a broad range of context.
  3. Proposal Formulation
    1. Completion of four separate concise, comprehensive, and credible horticultural therapy program proposals.
    2. Development of budgets, understanding of logistics, fund-raising, and program cost issues.
    3. Application of program outcome analysis and understanding of therapeutic goals.
  4. Horticultural Therapy Session Development and Delivery
    1. Demonstration of mobile plant cart bedside session delivery and therapeutic analysis.
    2. Critique of session planning skills, delivery methods, and materials.
    3. Peer-reviewed therapist performance ratings
  5. Sense – ational Plants
    1. Presentation of recommended annual plants for horticultural therapy programming.
    2. Identification and development of potential session activities utilizing recommended plants.
    3. Discussion of safe, organic horticultural products and methods.
  6. Horticultural Therapy Session Delivery
    1. Supervised and critiqued session delivery by students to:
      1. children with behavioral disorders;
      2. veterans in a mental health setting;
      3. veterans in a vocational rehabilitation setting, and
      4. children and adults with mental retardation/developmental disabilities.
    2. Development of Alternative Activities
      1. Participate in session planning exercises for purposes of facilitating an optional, back-up activity in case of inclement weather, facilities breakdown, lock-down of treatment units, illness of primary therapist, and other challenges to planned sessions.
    3. Final - Proposal Presentation
      1. Formal presentation to peers, in critiqued session, of proposal developed in HTC 120 for implementation at site of choice.

VII.  Methods of Instruction

  1. Complete the readings, research and assignments (includes weekly discussions and activities, written reports, etc.) required in this course.
  2. Completion of all assigned readings and materials.
  3. Submission of written assignments.
  4. Active participation by students in class discussions.
  5. Participation in on-site experience at Chicago Botanic Garden and nearby health care facilities.

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

  1. It is expected that students will need to spend a total of 180 hours to complete the readings, research and assignments (includes weekly discussions and activities, written reports, etc.) required in this course.
  2. Student-directed research guidance and support.
  3. The laboratory component is conducted at the Chicago Botanic Gardens with student participation in residential activities and group discussions.
  4. Written homework assignments.
  5. Upon completion, projects and assignments are distributed and/or discussed with other members of the class to enhance overall learning.
  6. Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

  1. Required texts:
    Maria Gabaldo, OTR, HTM; Maryellen King, HTR; and Gene Rothert, HTR, Health through Horticulture: A Guide for using the Outdoor Garden for Therapeutic Outcomes, 2003, Chicago Botanic Garden

    Johanna Leos,HTM; Kelly Nelson,HTR; and Gene Rothert, HTR, Health through Horticulture: A Guide for using the Indoor Garden for Therapeutic Outcomes, 2008, Chicago Botanic Garden

    Sharon P. Simpson and Martha C. Straus, Horticulture as Therapy: Principles and Practices, 1998, Haworth Press.

    Chicago Botanic Garden Complete Fact Sheet Series

  2. Selected websites

  3. Selected additional reading materials

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

  1. Written assignments
  2. Self-directed learning projects
  3. Written assignments and projects may include:
    Plant project
    Plant Cart Plan
    Elementary School Program
    Income Generating Proposal
    Pre-Vocational Training Proposal
    Program of Student’s Choice
    Plant Cart Activity Demonstration
    Session Delivery at Multiple Sites
    Alternative Activity DevelopmentFinal Proposal Presentation and Critique

Class participation and professional attitude and behavior will also be considered in computing the final grade.

Grading Scale:
90-100 = A
80-89 = B
70-79 = C
Below 70 = F

XI.   Other Course Information

  1. Attendance is mandatory at all scheduled online discussions; and, assignments must be submitted/posted online as scheduled. Recurrent absences or tardiness may result in lowering final grade or expulsion from the program. In case of emergency – contact instructor prior to due date.
  2. There will be no make ups of assignments. Late homework assignments will not be accepted.
  3. Correct grammar and spelling is required on all written assignments.
  4. Students guilty of plagiarism/cheating are subject to dismissal from the program and/or disciplinary action under the Student Code of Conduct.


If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at www.oakton.edu/title9/.

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at www.oakton.edu/lgbtq.