Horticultural Therapy education and training, Vancouver Island, BC:

Explore the fields of Horticultural Therapy (HT), Therapeutic Horticulture (TH), and Nature-Based Therapy in an exciting inter-disciplinary program.

HT courses appeal to healthcare professionals, educators, horticulturists, landscape designers and others wishing to learn more about connecting people, plants, and nature.

Four courses provide up to 160 hours of lively, land-based instruction and supervised study projects, based near Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island.

Please note, this is NOT an on-line learning program. All study units - including students' independent assignments, which explore gardens and natural landscapes near their own homes or places of work, are land-based.


Courses in 2024-25:

For a concise summary of HT Certificate courses planned for 2024-2025, please view the downloadable 2024-25 HT Certificate pdf.

To request a detailed syllabus for the HT Certificate courses or Ann's quarterly newsletter, which provides advance notice for upcoming courses and workshops, please contact Ann.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ) about Horticultural Therapy training:

Where are Horticultural Therapy Certificate classes held?

In 2020, Ann realized a long-held dream of moving her HT practice and the HT Certificate program from urban locations in Vancouver to a rural setting west of Qualicum Beach, on central Vancouver Island. Seven gardens, set in a beautiful forest, surround well-equipped indoor and outdoor instructional spaces.

Students explore spaces typical of those where they might offer seasonal gardening and nature-based programs and consider the potential for collaboration and partnership with agencies in their own communities.

What about TH and HT programs for specific populations?

Content focuses on evidence-based literature and examples of contemporary horticulture, gardening, and nature-based therapy programs that serve diverse populations - locally, across Canada, and around the world. Hands-on projects explore adaptations for seasonal activities in horticulture, nature, floral, and botanical craft programs. The small cohort allows for lively discussion in class - we learn a lot from each other's experiences.

For those interested in working in therapeutic horticulture, the first two courses, Programming for All Seasons and Creating Therapeutic Gardens, provide excellent foundation knowledge and skill sets for working in community-based gardens, school gardens, and residential care settings.

For those considering work in a clinical setting, Horticultural Therapy Techniques and The Practice of Horticultural Therapy include units on developing specific objectives and measurable outcomes for individual clients and using various methods for documentation.

What is included in each course fee?

The course fee of $650.00 for each course includes instruction; comprehensive, evidence-based research and reference materials; TH/HT program planning, session planning, and assessment templates; and plant material and supplies required for hands-on activities.

The teaching team is led by Ann Kent HTM, a Registered Horticultural Therapist and member of the CHTA and the AHTA. Guest instructors are also members of the CHTA.

Two textbooks are NOT included in the course fees. These support pre-reading lists for each course and assist with the written assignments in each course. If you would like to check them out, here are the titles:

  • The Profession and Practice of Horticultural Therapy, 1st edition, 2019 CRC Press, ed. Rebecca L. Haller, Karen L. Kennedy, Christine L. Capra. 384 pages.
  • Designing, Planting and Using a Therapeutic Garden, Sue Jeffries, The Crowood Press, 2023. 224 pages.

Is a statement of completion provided?

Yes. A detailed statement of completion is provided to assist those who are completing continuing education requirements for professional associations in Horticultural Therapy and related disciplines. Courses adhere to the HT Core Skills & Knowledge document published by the CHTA and abide by the CHTA's education and professional registration guidelines.

A Horticultural Therapy Certificate is provided upon completion of all four courses. The CHTA recognizes this certificate as eligible for 2.0 points toward professional registration. Please visit the CHTA website to review the most recent edition of its voluntary professional registration guidelines.

Where do students access funding to support their training in horticultural therapy?

Students indicate they have successfully accessed funding via the following sources:

  • professional development funds dispersed by the student's employer
  • job-training or skills upgrade funds via an employee's union or trade association
  • federal and/or provincially managed job training funds
  • scholarships and awards from professional associations in related fields

How big are the classes?

Ann limits class size to ten and recommends early registration to ensure placement, to provide time to explore the pre-reading list, and to complete written assignments.

Where can I find more information about Therapeutic Horticulture and Horticultural Therapy?

Start with the information and links provided on the Resources page. These will provide you with hours of exploration.

Is there a professional association for HT in Canada, or a local network group?

Nationally, the website of the Canadian Horticultural Therapy Association provides information about association membership, TH and HT education programs, and the CHTA's annual conference.
Locally, networking is informal. On Vancouver Island, volunteers maintain an affiliation with the BC Council of Gardens Clubs as a group called Gardens That Heal - Vancouver Island. You can follow posts about therapeutic gardens and horticulture on our province-wide Facebook site - Gardens That Heal or on our Instagram page at Gardens That Heal - VI.

What about gaining practical experience in TH and HT?

Horticultural Therapy internships and mentorships in Canada are available to students who satisfy the CHTA guidelines for education and training in Horticultural Therapy (HT). If you are a CHTA member seeking further information about the new CHTA guidelines for internships or mentorships, please look for current information on the CHTA website at www.chta.ca and address any inquiries to registration@chta.ca.

Volunteer opportunities in social and therapeutic horticulture are often available at community organizations in your own community.

How might I transition to a career in TH or HT?

As the option for diploma or degree training in TH and HT does not exist in Canada at this time, most students add continuing education courses in TH and HT to academic training and work experience in a horticulture or human service area, thereby acquiring a specific adjunct skill set. Students enrolling in the HT Certificate courses have backgrounds in such fields as horticulture, teaching, social work, occupational therapy, psychology, nursing, and recreational therapy.

Most students are planning to develop programs in TH or HT in settings where they are already employed. A few, who already have small businesses and/ or good entrepreneurial skill sets, plan to develop TH and HT programs as independent contractors. We discuss the benefits and challenges of being an employee versus a self-employed contractor during The Practice of Horticultural Therapy course.