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Horticultural therapy at MUSC

Making It Grow Minute Extra logo

The grounds crew at the Medical University of South Carolina designs and maintains a calming and relaxing campus setting, with passive and active outdoor activities. Besides their horticultural expertise, certain members of are trained in horticultural therapy to serve a diverse in-patient clientele. Each week, horticultural therapy members coordinate with medical experts, for example devising programs for those receiving chemo-therapy or for children with emotional or physical diagnoses often having to create a horticulture activity without plants or soil – one example is a pine-cone feeder with nut butters containing no peanuts and then rolled in seeds. Flowers made from paper or cloth can brighten a patient’s room without adding fragrance or pollen. People involved can focus on the creative process rather than an illness and enjoy the therapeutic social interaction of working with alongside others.

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Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.