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C. A. Lewis


Horticulture is a branch of agriculture and as such is primarily concerned with the production of a product, be it fruit, vegetable or ornamental. Horticultural research, applied to improvement of production methods and product, has resulted in sophisticated control of production and uniformity of product. People seldom enter the purview of horticultural research, except in studies of labor-efficient methods of production or the consumer market.

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Yen-Chun Lai and Li-Chun Huang

A high percentage of fresh flowers sold are consumed as gifts in many countries, such as Taiwan, Japan, and the United States. As gift consumption is so important for the sales of fresh flowers, consumer behavior in floral gift giving is investigated in this research. This study explored the consumer decision to purchase fresh flowers as a romantic gift for Valentine’s Day based on 1) relationship stage, 2) affection, and 3) satisfaction with the relationship. The statistical results, based on the data of 366 valid questionnaires collected from a self-administered questionnaire survey, showed that the relationship stage of “personality need fulfillment,” the affection of “passion,” and relationship satisfaction significantly influenced the consumer decision of whether to purchase fresh flowers as romantic Valentine’s Day gifts. Consumers were more likely to buy their intimate partners fresh flowers when they perceived their personality need, such as the need of being loved, was fulfilled in the relationship. When strongly passionate about that relationship, they tended to give fresh flowers in conjunction with other gifts. However, when consumers were more satisfied with their romantic relationships, they were less likely to buy their intimate partners fresh flowers. The study results have valuable implications for florists’ business alliances and advertising campaign development for promoting floral gifts efficiently.

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Bo-Young Kim, Sin-Ae Park, Jong-Eun Song, and Ki-Cheol Son

This study was conducted to determine the effects of a horticultural therapy (HT) program, based on B.F. Skinner’s behavior modification theory and special education science curriculum for Korean children with intellectual disabilities for the improvement of attention and sociality. Twenty-four participants (10 males, 14 females, in grades 1 to 3) with intellectual disabilities were recruited from a special education class at an elementary school in Seoul, South Korea. Twelve children participated in the HT program after-school for 6 months (Mar. to Aug. 2009, once per week, ≈40 min per session); the control group consisted of the remaining 12 children. Before and after the HT program, Conners’ teacher rating scales—revised and the social skills rating system assessments were conducted by parents/caregivers or teachers for each of the children. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) and chi square tests were used to compare differences between the two groups. Difference in attention was not significant between groups. Children in the HT group had statistically significant higher sociality scores than those in the control group (P < 0.001). In conclusion, the HT program improved the sociality of children with intellectual disabilities. To maximize the therapeutic effects of the HT program for attention, the program should be revised and supplemented based on the results in this study. A larger sample size and factoring in the level of disability and year in school of the participants would increase the precision in assessing therapeutic effects.

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Seong-Hyun Park and Richard H. Mattson

Medical and psychological measurements of surgical patients were tested to determine the influence of plants and flowers within hospital rooms. Eighty female patients recovering from a thyroidectomy were randomly assigned to either control or plant rooms. Patients in the plant room viewed 12 foliage and flowering plants during their postoperative recovery periods. Data collected for each patient included length of hospitalization, analgesics used for postoperative pain control, vital signs, ratings of pain intensity, pain distress, anxiety and fatigue, the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory Form Y-1, the Environmental Assessment Scale, and the Patient's Room Satisfaction Questionnaire. Patients in hospital rooms with plants and flowers had significantly shorter hospitalizations, fewer intakes of analgesics, lower ratings of pain, anxiety, and fatigue, and more positive feelings and higher satisfaction about their rooms when compared with patients in the control group. Findings of this research suggest the therapeutic value of plants in the hospital environment as an effective complementary medicine for surgical patients.

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Sheri Dorn, Lucy Bradley, Debbie Hamrick, Julie Weisenhorn, Pam Bennett, Jill Callabro, Bridget Behe, Ellen Bauske, and Natalie Bumgarner

The National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture (NICH) is a diverse consortium of leaders who provide a unified voice for promoting the benefits and value of consumer horticulture (CH). NICH endeavors to unite national research efforts with the goals of the diverse stakeholders in the industry, the public sector, and the gardening public in an effort to advance knowledge and increase benefits and application of horticulture for cultivating a healthy world through landscapes, gardens, and plants, and an improved quality of life. Benefits of CH are broadly applicable, whether economic, environmental, or community- and health-related. A benefits approach to marketing sets the stage for unprecedented collaboration, such as that demonstrated by NICH. NICH members have developed three broad goals: recognizing CH as a driver of the agricultural economy; highlighting that CH restores, protects, and conserves natural resources through research and education; and cultivating healthy, connected, and engaged communities through CH. Three NICH committees (Economic, Environmental, and Community and Health Benefits) have focused their efforts on NICH goals for the past 10 months. The three committee chairs, representing ≈30 committee members, presented the results of their efforts and future directions for their committees. The Economic and Environmental committees have proceeded with campaigns to better market CH by promoting the benefits of plants and to increase environmental benefits by changing consumer behavior. After reviewing current research, the Community and Health Benefits Committee suggested that a gap exists in research related to specific benefits of CH and personal gardening (as opposed to benefits accrued by enjoying forests, horticulture therapy, indoor atriums, community gardens, parks, and other public places). The committee suggested that overcoming this gap requires strategic collaboration of skill and expertise from a more diverse group of industry representatives, specialists, and scientists. This approach has tremendous potential to affect the CH marketplace, especially when drawing multiple sources of value from the products and experiences.

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Diane Relf and Pete Madsen

Through funding from various horticultural associations (including ASHS, ALCA, SAF, WFFSA, and HRI), the People-Plant Council has been able to develop a computerized bibliography that will be of great value to researchers in the area of People-Plant Interaction and a second bibliography specifically for the area of Horticultural Therapy. The combined PPI and HT bibliographies contain approximately 1600 citations, 25 percent of which include an abstract. Due to the size and length of each bibliography (over 200 pages of hard copy), they are available on diskette. This will facilitate users searching for keywords or specific articles and allow them to rearrange the material as needed.

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Melanie M. Migura and J.M. Zajicek

Quantitative evaluation of horticulture vocational-therapy programs is becoming more and more critical as professionals in the area of people-plant interactions try to document the value of their programs. Evaluation tools to assess self-development of individuals studying such factors as self-esteem, life satisfaction, and locus of control have long been used in the social science disciplines. Many of these tools, either in their original forms or with some adaptations, can be successfully used to measure changes in self-development of individuals participating in horticulture programs.

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Anne M. Hanchek

In 1991, a suburban city in Minnesota found its lawn and nuisance weed ordinance the center of controversy as a citizen sought to develop a naturalized landscape that contrasted greatly with her neighbors' mowed lawns. This decision case study presents that situation as faced by the city policymakers and, when presented in a class setting, provides an opportunity to explore real options in a real issue of today. The case objectives are to prepare policymakers to deal with similar issues, and to broaden the outlook of students based in plant and environmental sciences to include the social factors of people-plant interactions. Group problem-solving skills also can be enhanced by this exercise. The abridged teaching note provides guidance for classroom and extension use.