Voting is now open for the National Garden Bureau’s (NGB) Growing for Futures Therapeutic Garden Grant. Started in 2014, Growing for Futures is a philanthropic program of NGB that supports the building and growth of therapeutic gardens across North America. The first place winner of the online voting will receive $5,000 from the program to enhance the garden’s good works and continue its mission. Second and third place winners will receive $3,000 and $2,000 respectively for their garden works.

“Through the awarding of NGB’s Therapeutic Garden Grants, we hope to expand the knowledge and benefits of gardening to everyone,” says Diane Blazek, NGB’s Executive Director. “These benefits are especially important to individuals suffering with physical, mental or emotional burdens. Gardens and gardening are therapeutic in the truest sense of the word,” Blazek adds.

After reviewing the 25 applications submitted for the 2015 Therapeutic Garden Grant, NGB has narrowed the list of finalists to three gardening programs. Those gardens are:

  • Cape Fear Botanical Garden in Fayetteville, North Carolina. This therapeutic garden focuses on outreach to the area’s military population through programs that offer the opportunity to learn new skills, promote healthy living through home gardening, and encourage interaction with peers and community during the transition to civilian lifestyles. Cape Fear Botanical Garden is interactive, inspirational and motivational, focusing on stress recovery where the basics of horticulture are introduced giving students and opportunity to explore new abilities.
  • Green Chimneys Children’s Garden in Brewster, New York. Green Chimneys is an internationally recognized garden offering an effective solution for healing and improving the lives of children struggling with a variety of social, emotional and behavioral challenges through nature-based therapies. The garden serves more than 210 children monthly, while also serving an additional 150 adults per month during spring and summer seasons through corporate teambuilding/volunteer exercises.
  • The Riverwood Conservancy Enabling Garden in Mississauga, Ontario. The Riverwood Conservancy’s Enabling Garden is the only therapeutic garden in the Greater Toronto area helping children and adults overcome physical, cognitive and emotional difficulties. The programs build confidence, self-esteem, strength and mobility and inspire a deeper connection to nature through hands-on activities. The Enabling Garden serves an ever-increasing need in this urban area, doubling its capacity each year since opening in 2013.

In 2014 the Growing Solutions Farm in Chicago, Illinois, was the first funding recipient in the Growing for Futures program. This vocational therapy garden for young adults with autism used the funds to build a season-extending poly hoop house and also install raised bed pollinator gardens planted with native plants to enhance the productivity of the whole garden.