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Adapted gardening workshops helping horticultural therapy flourish in Montpellier

Information updated on 23/04/19

The Montpellier association “Mosaic of people and gardens” organizes gardening workshops designed for frail seniors, people with Alzheimer’s disease, and autistic children. Project: developing therapeutic activity.

Sonia Trinquier©Mosaïque des hommes et des jardins

Sonia Trinquier ©Mosaïque des hommes et des jardins

Sonia Trinquier has always been an avid gardener. An agronomic engineer, she wanted to base her profession on her passion. Previously, she had been a consultant specializing in agricultural activity diversification. In March 2016, she began creating adapted gardening workshops.

The idea is to bring people well-being,” explains the Montpellier resident. “I adapt the activity to the abilities of people who want to garden so that they feel good and so that gardening has a positive effect on their health.

The first intervention by her association “Mosaïque des Hommes et des Jardins” (Mosaic of people and gardens) was to organize workshops for elderly people in community gardens in Montpellier’s priority neighborhoods. Gardening is a great way for seniors to keep in shape while creating ties with their neighbors. Every week, Sonia Trinquier brings tools, soil, seeds, and plants, and proposes various themes, such as winter flowers, mulching, grafting...

The most active retired people help the frailest who may have vision or hearing problems, diseases, or memory loss,” explains the group leader who obtained funding for this initiative from Carsat Languedoc-Roussillon in response to a call-for-projects on “healthy aging.”

A training program

Another activity involves workshops reserved for people with neurodegenerative diseases, in partnership with France Alzheimer, or for autistic children from the Parents-Thèse school in Jacou, accompanied by their aids.

Our goal is for them to have a good stimulating time outdoors, in contact with nature,” adds the association’s director.

In 2016, Sonia Trinquier set up a multi-disciplinary scientific committee with gerontologist Professor Claude Jeandel, in charge of evaluating the benefits of horticultural therapy. She would like to develop the practice, which is not yet recognized by the medical community. Her efforts at the retirement home in Montpellier’s Grisettes neighborhood are helping to transform the outside space into a garden designed for therapeutic purposes. She has developed a training program to pass on these new practices, with support from the National Federation of Gardens, Nature, and Health, of which her association is a founding member. There are still more seeds to be sown!
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