UMC at Pitman Residents Enjoy Monthly Horticultural Therapy Classes

On the first Friday of every month nearly a dozen residents gather in the Community Life Room to take part in a class offered by Beverly Agard, a registered horticultural therapist who loves to share her love of nature and plants with these eager pupils. “Beverly is known for her knowledge of flowers, plants and herbs and is part of the Summer Winter Garden in urban Philadelphia,” said Carrol Stella, UMC at Pitman’s Director of Community Life who coordinates Agard’s much anticipated monthly visits.  Stella added that in the past, residents have enjoyed building terrariums along with seasonal pieces that have incorporated dried fruits, special herbs, and holiday ribbons to create professional looking floral arrangements.

    UMC at Pitman resident Lisa Huang (pictured) looks forward to the monthly sessions.  “I mark the calendar ahead of time to make sure I arrange my day to attend Bev’s class.  I just love creating beautiful flower arrangements and working with plants!” said Huang.

      “All residents are welcome and encouraged to participate,” Stella explains. “Seniors gain physical, emotional, spiritual, sensory and intellectual benefits from experiencing natural, living things.”

           Agard adds, “Feeling the textures of the soil and plant materials, while experiencing the sights, sounds and smells of the garden, stimulates all five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell–and even taste, when they sample an herb or vegetable they have grown.  Spiritually the residents feel reunited with a part of the healthy, living world around them.”

      Stella explains that horticultural therapists are specially educated and trained professionals.  “I encourage everyone to stop by on the first Friday of the month to see first hand the beautiful creations our residents create under the tutelage of such a talented individual.”

        United Methodist Communities is a not-for-profit organization guided by a volunteer board of directors affiliated in ministry with the United Methodist Church of Greater New Jersey.  The mission of the United Methodist Communities is compassionately serving in community so that all are free to choose abundant life.  With over 110 years of continuous operation, the organization has grown to ten communities offering affordable senior housing, independent and assisted living, long term care, rehabilitation, memory support, respite, and hospice to persons of all faith backgrounds.  


UMC at Pitman resident Lisa Huang puts the finishing touches on the fall flower arrangement she created in Beverly Agard’s monthly class. (Photo by Carrol Stella).