St. Madeleine Sophie's Center has a beautiful two-acre, therapeutic, Certified Organic Garden that includes a full citrus orchard, beautiful flower gardens, a passive-solar greenhouse, a propagation house, ornamental trees, green shrubs, and fragrant herbs.
This flourishing natural habitat includes ADA approved meandering pathways, contemplative spaces and opportunities to commune with nature. In addition, their gardens serve as a reality-based work training environment; where students receive individualized support from managers who are trained in the field of horticulture as well as excel at working with the developmentally disabled. They provide training in a natural environment that cultivates more than strong, healthy plants – but an area where students focus on goal attainment, develop physical and mental skills, hone social interaction, build self-esteem, strengthen a sense of community and personal accomplishment. It is the provision of individualized support that makes the garden experience successful for individuals with varied expectations and with unique needs.
The gardens include two 1500 square foot shade houses and a 1000 square foot climate controlled greenhouse, a full citrus orchard, organic vegetable and flower gardens, ornamental trees, shrubs, herbs and a worm farm. We specialize in California acclimated succulents, perennials and trees, and always have a unique collection of whimsical garden ornamentation available.
Horticulture students have the opportunity to learn propagation methods, plant seeds, nurture growth, learn customer service and so much more in this innovative program that empowers students. From their work in the gardens, our students use these skills to improve their daily lives and branch out as important contributors to the greater community. The gardens and greenhouses are open to the public: Monday through Friday 8:00 – 4:00 and Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Sophie’s Organic Gardens is a certified organic garden that provides training for approximately 40 developmentally disabled individuals each day on a Monday through Friday basis throughout the year.
With over a quarter mile of flower-lined trails, the garden is a picturesque place to provide a beautiful backdrop to any special event. The garden mesa provides you with an excellent opportunity for a wedding reception, a baby shower, a brunch or an evening underneath the stars.
The campus is located at 2119 East Madison Avenue in El Cajon. Visit www.stmsc.org for hours and information.