Engaging with plants, nature, and recreation to promote wellness in all domains of health for older adults.
Horticultural Therapy Specialist

The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.




About Me

Welcome! My name is Bianca van der Stoel and I am a budding Horticultural Therapist with a solid foundation as a Recreation Therapist. I completed my undergraduate degree in Therapeutic Recreation at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia before working as a Director of Health & Wellness in a Memory Care setting. As I worked in the seniors care industry, I recognized a need for increased opportunities to access nature and engage one's sense with plant and natural materials. Thus, I pursued training as a Horticulturalist at Vancouver Island University, while training under Registered Horticultural Therapist Mitchell Hewson. 


With professional experience in Community Health, Assisted Living, Memory Care, Mental Health, and Palliative Care settings, I come prepared with a toolkit of engaging, meaningful activities centered around the modality of horticulture. A variety of programs focus on goals such as physical mobility, socialization, sensory stimulation, or feelings of pleasure and purposeful work. 

I believe Horticultural Therapy can provide boundless benefits to older adults in our communities, and I'd love to talk to you about how this service could connect to you.


About Horticultural Therapy

Horticultural Therapy is a treatment using horticultural and plant materials to achieve goals targeted at wellness and quality of life. Horticultural Therapy provides a natural, familiar activity that allows an individual to experience feelings of purpose, joy, dignity, stress reduction, and a diverse list of further benefits. 

A Horticultural Therapist is an appropriately trained individual who provides treatment using horticultural techniques to maintain or improve all domains- including social, cognitive, physical, emotional, and spiritual health. The Horticultural Therapist can fulfill multiple roles within the interdisciplinary team, such as contributing to assessment or providing treatment using this modality.

Horticultural Therapy is an evidence informed practice with clinically validated research supporting the following benefits:  

  • Socialization (Baker, 2009)

  • Public health (Groenewegen et al., 2006)

  • Reduced depression & anxiety symptoms (Gonzalez et al., 2010)

  • Improved diet (Langeliotto & Gupta, 2012)

  • Physiological health (van den Berg et al., 2010)

  • Sense of accomplishment (Austin et al., 2006)

  • Increased dexterity & strength (Baker, 2009)

Baker, L. (2009). Nature’s Pervading Influence: A therapy of growth. 56, 93-96.

Groenewegen et al. (2006). Vitamin G. 6, 149.

Gonzalez et al. (2010). Therapeutic horticulture in clinical depression. 66, 2002-2013.

Langellotto & Gupta. (2012). Gardening increases vegetable consumption in children. 22, 430–445.

van den Berg et al. (2010). Allotment gardening and health: A comparative survey. 9, 74.

Austin et al. (2006). Community gardening in a senior center. 40, 48-56.



"I'm grieving the loss of my husband, and I'm grieving the process of aging, so at this point -

life is about waiting for the next blossom."

-Anonymous Elder

"Bianca is full of invaluable knowledge and was incredibly engaging with the youth in our eco-therapy group. Her passion, insight, and personality are infectious and I hope to work alongside her again."

-Carly Deal

Tillicum Lelum Aboriginal Health Center Youth Counsellor

Please inquire via email for References and past contract Horticultural Therapy company contacts. 


Please send me an inquiry including your name, contact information, and the nature of your participants. 

I will be in touch in less than 48 hours to answer any questions or discuss a potential contract agreement. 

Contract Horticultural 

Therapy Services


Horticultural Therapy

Program Samples

  Horticulture activities and tasks are chosen based upon assessment results. Upon initial assessment, client-centered goals and a treatment plan are made. Program plans such as the examples below provide accountability and structure to the program to ensure wellness goals are being achieved.


I will always commit to offer 

enjoyable, intentional, therapeutic services. 

Below are three simple examples of a possible

Horticultural Therapy session:


Contact Me

Nanaimo, BC

Tel: (403) 634-4959

© 2019 by Bianca van der Stoel.

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