By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Oct 20, 2002 at 5:15 AM

The Boerner Botanical Gardens and Arboretum are located in Milwaukee County's Whitnall Park. The 50-acre Gardens feature significant collections of roses, herbs, perennials, peonies and crabapples, and more than 200,000 people visit the Gardens every year. (Mother's Day is their busiest day of the year.)

This fall, the Friends of Boerner are nurturing their creative sides by taking their love of the natural world into classrooms and reaching out to the community with a variety of great programs.

Vegetate Around the State is a brand new class for 4th graders -- created in partnership with Native American educators. It uses Wisconsin's natural plants, herbs and flowers to teach how early settlers and Native tribes tapped into the living power and beauty of Wisconsin's vegetation. All of the children's horticulture education classes are designed to meet the State's Model Academic Standards for Science.


On Tue., Oct 29, Bruce Paul Goodman, also known as "the Fashionable Clothier," and Andre' Furs will host a Fall Fashion Show and Luncheon featuring fall and holiday fashions for women of all sizes and ages. Proceeds will benefit horticultural education programs for children and adults.

Although the new Education and Visitors Center doesn't open to the public until spring, a sneak preview can be arranged. The building will make year-round, on-site programming possible for the first time in Gardens' history. It will include an exhibition hall for shows and events, state-of-the-art laboratory classrooms, a multimedia lecture room, a café, an expanded gift shop, a horticultural library and archives.

Finally, the Friends' most ambitious new program brings horticultural therapy to Wisconsin for the first time by launching a formal scientific study of its benefits among local dementia and Alzheimer's patients. Horticultural therapy is a discipline that uses plants, gardening activities and the natural world as vehicles for therapy and rehabilitation.

The Friends' program places an occupational therapist in four partner agencies to implement programming including the planting and maintainece of healing gardens by program participants. The four partner agencies are St. Ann's Center for Intergenerational Health Care, Family House Assessment and Referral Clinic, Village Adult Services, Inc. and The Threshold, Inc.