So yes, he likes to garden now.
Another gardening veteran was away that afternoon. After dealing with schizophrenia for decades, he’d recently made a breakthrough. “He was on the streets drinking for five years,” Dr. Ames said. “Now he’s in college.”
Technically, the veterans’ bi-weekly gardening is considered horticultural therapy, an endeavor Dr. Ames has pioneered at the L.A. PRCC, but she admits that it takes a village. Lewis Vinocchio, a Vietnam veteran and Peer Support Specialist, oversees the horticultural sessions. “I grew up in Connecticut and my parents were Italian. Their garden would’ve made Martha Stewart jealous,” he said. Other members of the team include a nurse, a psychologist, a chaplain, social workers, recreational therapists, and occupational therapists.