PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

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Christopher Rinn
Acting Commissioner

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Deck the Halls with Holiday Plants Grown at the State’s Psychiatric Hospitals

TRENTON – Decking the halls just got easier as the consumers in two of the state’s three psychiatric hospitals vocational programs are offering their home-grown holiday plants for sale to the public.

The patient-operated horticultural programs at Trenton Psychiatric Hospital (TPH) and Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital (GPPH) are among the several therapeutic and vocational training opportunities available to patients.

Some former patients have pursued careers in horticulture after being discharged from the hospitals, and the programs help prepare them for the professional world, according to Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services Assistant Commissioner Valerie Mielke.

The hospital horticultural centers at TPH and GPPH are not attached to the hospitals and offer easy access to come to the centers and shop.

The programs yield herbs, flowers and other crops year-round, but the patients are particularly fond of preparing the winter holiday offerings, according to Mielke, who often picks up plants for her home at the hospitals.


“The quality of the plants is just as good as any you’d get in a high-end nursery,” Mielke said. “Community residents have been coming here for years to buy unique gifts for the holidays and special occasions.”

On average, 40 patients at a time earn money and marketable skills by working in TPH’s horticultural vocation program, which teaches elements of greenhouse and nursery production, job skills in the green industry, organic farming, interior plant-scaping, turf industry, greenhouse management, and landscaping.  The vocational program has been in operation at TPH for 30 years.

“There is a valuable therapeutic component involved in our job training programs, especially with horticulture,” said Teresa McQuiade, former CEO at TPH, and currently director of State Hospital Management and Acting CEO at GPPH. The work provides a sense of purpose and pride

“These are discharge-preparation activities that boost patient esteem with skills that provide quick, tangible, brag-worthy results. The work provides a sense of purpose and pride,” McQuiade said.

Items currently on sale at TPH include: holiday basket arrangements for $10; hanging baskets filled with evergreen branches and decorated with pine cones, colored balls, bows and lights, $15; fresh flower arrangements in a silver or gold vase with red and white carnations and greens, $12 - $15; wreaths, available in 18" or 24", plain or decorated with bows, balls, pine cones, or holiday items, $15-$23; and the following potted plants: Paperwhites ,$8; Amaryllis, $8; Christmas Cactus, $1, and Kalenchoe, $1.

The Greenhouse store is open to the public on Tuesdays from 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.; Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m., Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. and Fridays from 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. Prices are well below market rate, and the store accepts cash only. The address is 100 Sullivan Way in West Trenton, New Jersey. The Greenhouse and store can be seen from the roadway. Patrons should park in the lot and walk up the gravel path.

At GPPH in Parsippany, about 25 patients at a time earn money to work in this popular recreation that teaches elements of greenhouse and nursery production, organic farming, interior plant-scaping, and landscape gardening.  The vocational program has been in operation at Greystone for 28 years.   

The Greenhouse Store’s hours of operation are Monday – Friday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. It is located on the Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital campus at 59 Koch Avenue in Morris Plains.  Prospective patrons should follow signs to the Greenhouse along the hospitals’ entry drive.

The GPPH store will be selling its specialty, pine cone trees, some decorated and lighted, from $8 to $40.

Although the horticultural program at Ancora Psychiatric Hospital in Winslow Township is in its infancy and is not offering holiday plants for sale this year, participants have been working on houseplant production and vegetable and fruit gardens. Participants also have been planting bulbs for future sales.


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Last Reviewed: 12/7/2017