Jenny Bush, the Children’s Garden Coordinator at the Parry Center Campus, has a connection to Trillium’s therapeutic garden that goes all the way back to its beginnings in 1998. As a horticultural therapist who had recently relocated to Oregon, she consulted on the early development of the program and donated plants from her own garden.
In 2004, Jenny took over the role of Children’s Garden Coordinator and she has met and worked with every child who has stayed at the Parry Center Campus ever since. That’s hundreds and hundreds of children over the years, working with her to learn about gardening and to grow themselves.
When Jenny first started, the garden was designed to allow each child to plant their own garden (or just dig the dirt) in separate boxes. As Oregon’s system of care for children transformed to a more community-oriented focus, the gardening program began to change as well. The principles of community gardening and group projects took root, creating a more diverse set of garden elements, a greenhouse and a labyrinth.
“The Trillium therapists have noted over the years that working side by side in the garden or on projects such as the greenhouse, have made a big difference in the outcomes of some of the children.” Jenny shared. She spends four days a week working with every program at the Parry Center Campus and adds one-on-one time for children who ask to spend more time in the garden or whom therapists believe can make progress with some extra time in the garden.
Trillium’s young clients aren’t the only people who appreciate what Jenny and the Healing Garden program offer. Jenny’s work received the national Therapeutic Garden Design and Programming Award in 2014 from the American Horticultural Therapy Association. Jenny’s program also benefited over the years from hundreds of volunteer hours and donated materials from long-time partners such as The Standard, Portland Garden Club and Kobos Coffee.
Thank you, Jenny, for all the hard work and immeasurable value you have helped grow in the Healing Garden!
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