Therapeutic Gardening

Ability Garden Session in the Arboretum

Special needs classes, rehabilitation and support groups, adult care services, summer camps, and other community groups can schedule visits with the Ability Garden at the NHC Arboretum for nature-based activities. Each session is tailored to the size and needs of the group. A typical session is one and a half hours and includes a guided walk through the gardens and a table top planting session. We also offer Open Community Groups for individuals of all ages, enrollment in these groups requires an interview and a commitment to attend the scheduled sessions. ALL SESSIONS are weather dependent. Due to the unpredictability of weather in our area, cancellations will be made the day of the scheduled group, except in extreme cases, such as a hurricane. To schedule a group or appointment, please contact Heather Kelejian, 910-798-7682,

Open Community Group

Our Open Community Groups bring together adults of all ages and capabilities for socialization and vocational horticulture opportunities. Individuals interested in an Open Community Group are interviewed to set their personal goals and to evaluate which group they would best fit into. These groups meet on a set schedule and members are asked to be on time and have good attendance. For more information on an Open Community Group contact Heather Kelejian, 910-798-7682,

Outreach Programs

The Ability Garden supports community outreach at schools, afterschool programs, adult care facilities and other community locations. Our outreach programs include a professionally directed curriculum designed to meet the goals of the site we are serving. We will partner with interested organizations to help them secure funding for our outreach programing, including improvements to their sites. Our outreach curriculums including table top gardening, composting, recycling, environmental responsibility, vegetable gardening, gardening for pollinators, and container gardening. If you are interested in becoming and Ability Garden outreach site, contact Heather Kelejian, 910-798-7682,


The Ability Garden program is part of NC State Extension and is working in partnership with the university to develop more resources for individuals and organizations who want to use horticulture and gardening as a therapeutic tool. Articles, links, events and other information from around the state can be found at:

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