Date of Award


Document Type



Environmental and Forest Biology

Thesis Advisor

Lee Newman


The goal of this project is to provide a resource for both staff and patients at the Syracuse Veteran's Affairs Medical Center (VA) to learn to care for the collection of plants in the therapeutic horticulture program and to also learn about the history and uses of the plants. The therapeutic horticulture program is designed to enhance the in-patient activities during short and long-term hospital stays for patients suffering from spinal cord disabilities or disease, and for those patients in long-term residential care. The horticultural therapy program has been active for three years, but until now, there was no information available to the patients regarding what plants were being grown in the patient rooms, common areas, or in the outside gardens, nor any guidance for their care. During the academic years, students from ESF guide the patients in plant care, but outside that time, hospital staff generously tends to the plants, and they themselves did not always have all the necessary knowledge to maintain the plants. This project was to compile information about all plants, outside garden plants, seed grown edibles and houseplants, into one living document, that would be both educational and entertaining. Each species is clearly detailed with care instructions, images, and some interesting information about history and uses. Additional copies of the pages for each plant are available if patients get released from the hospital and wish to take their plants home with them; thus having the resources they need to bring therapeutic horticulture into their own home. This project involved considerable in-depth research into over SO plant species, including ideal growing conditions, history, medical uses, and more. It also incorporated interpretive design into compiling these facts into a digestible and approachable form for any reader. One of the unique features of this project is that it intends to be a living document so that as more species are brought into the program, additional pages can be created and added.