This wise creature helps me improve Quality of Life goals! I walk more in nature, laugh more

and socialize with new people; the finer things in life!



    Growing up in southern Oregon, with 'the woods' right outside my back door, I developed an affinity for nature and outdoor activity.  There were caves to explore, tree forts to play in, streams, rivers and other adventures. When moving to Portland in 1976, I soon found refuge working in a CETA job; building trails in Forest Park, and learning to appreciate the amazing diversity of trees in the Arboretim. I felt at home in nature, and loved the physicality of working outside.


Always the entrepreneur, I soon began gardening for clietns. At first, just removing stumps (I got good at it in Forst Park), mowing lawns, and doing basic maintenance.  Realizing how little I knew, I began a lifelong study of horticulture and design. The role of horticulture in world history was a huge surprise to me, and I soon realized how deep and complex the world of a gardener really is. I had no mentor, and was self taught in most aspects of (life) landscape design and construction. There were classes and some schooling, but mostly I studied by observing, and experiencing, nature and the many great gardens in my world travels.


In Spain, e.g., the Moorish influence in architecture, gardens, and art intersects with ancient European cultural themes in a way that gives historical relevance to many modern design concepts. Likewise, the study of history and religion helps us to understand the contextual background of landscape architecture, and it's purpose throughout history. Architecture, art and gardens represented the peak of civilization, and the gardner or stone mason was a revered member of society.


     At an early stage in my career, I wanted to combine my interests in gardens iwth psychology; the adventure of the mind!

But there was no local school for horticultural therapy (HT), or eco-therapy, at that time, so I put it off. Eventually, at the age of 50, realizing that hard physical labor would eventually have to end, I found 2 HT certification programs; one in North Carolina, and one here in Portland, and completed an HT program.  I also earned an interdisciplinary degree (Business, Gerontology, and Environments) from Marylhurst. Currently, I live in a community called Ananda, where I use my skills to help enhance the environment and help organize community activities.








 Stephen  Pettengill

Horicultural Therapist

Landscape Designer
Portland, Oregon


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