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Plant Nursery Provides Therapeutic Activity and Vocational Skills for Patients
TRENTON – Trenton Psychiatric Hospital’s patient-operated horticultural program yields crops of commercial-grade produce, plants and flowers that are available year-round to the public at the Greenhouse Store on campus.  The program is one of several therapeutic and vocational training opportunities available to patients.Department of Human Services Commissioner Jennifer Velez toured the Greenhouse Store on Tuesday, June 5, surveying the seasonal plants and flowers for sale and buying some fresh basil for her family.
“Trenton Psychiatric Hospital’s Greenhouse Store truly is a local treasure, filled with a great selection of flowers, herbs and vegetable plants,” said Commissioner Velez. “The quality of these items rival what you would find in any plant nursery; I’m so proud of the staff and patients’ work.”
On average, 40 patients at a time earn money and marketable skills by working in Trenton Psychiatric Hospital’s (TPH) 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, CEO at TPH. “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,” she said, noting that some discharged patients have gotten jobs at nursery and landscaping companies based on picture portfolios of their work at TPH.
Items currently on sale include: herbs (oregano, thyme, rosemary, basil, cilantro, dill and parsley); vegetables (tomatoes, peppers and eggplant); potted flowering annuals (begonias, coleus, petunias, impatiens), perennials and tropical plants.
Fall Harvest sales offer autumn vegetables and mums, and a variety of succulents and houseplants are sold during the winter months.
Patients and staff working with the horticultural vocational program also have received a prestigious award for TPH’s Serenity Garden, where they can relax, reflect and enjoy an outdoors respite. In addition to a wide range of plants and flowers, the garden also features a fountain and several benches.

Last year, the Serenity Garden received the Community Greening Award from the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society. The Community Greening Award recognizes the horticulture efforts of individuals, groups, garden clubs and businesses that are dedicated to improving the quality of life through the beautification of public green spaces. About 80 sites were nominated.

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 1:00 - 3:00 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.


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