Cath Manuel

Horticultural Therapy - improving health and wellbeing through gardening and a connection with nature.


Cath Manuel is a qualified Horticulturist, Horticultural Therapist, Consultant and Educator based on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. She is the Founder of Soil to Supper and Director of Sowing Serenity Inc. which provides services and programs nationally and worldwide. Cath has many years’ experience in the horticulture industry and has a great interest in the benefits of gardening for health and wellbeing for all ages and abilities. She shares her knowledge and experience locally, nationally and worldwide through programs, consultations, events, radio, television and various media publications.


Horticultural Therapy is the practice of using plants and gardening activities to improve health and wellbeing of body, mind and spirit. For people living in aged care, especially within memory support units, access to outdoor spaces can be limited. Many residents were keen gardeners prior to their life within an aged care centre. Moving into an environment where they have limited outdoor space, loss of freedom to enjoy gardening activities and in many cases the loss of nutritious fresh food, can cause depression, confusion, stress and other effects on emotional and physical health. Although garden spaces are provided for residents, they are generally under-utilised as staff and carers have little knowledge of gardening activities and how to coordinate programs successfully. In my presentation I will highlight the worldwide practice of Horticultural Therapy and showcase the benefits of gardening activities for people in aged and dementia care. I will introduce fun, hands-on activities that are now being successfully delivered in aged care environments worldwide, describe how gardens are created and used within dementia care and simple ways that gardening programs can be delivered within aged care homes, respite centres and in-home care.

Watch Cath's video abstract


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