Sensory Gardens

With Spring fully upon us we have all been enjoying the flowers, blossoms and lush landscapes. The yellow colored hills on the 101 freeway still delight and amaze me as I drive by. One of the best things to me about Spring is the amazing smells of blossoms, flowers, earth and even that fresh cut lawn smell. My backyard is filled with citrus blossoms that fill the air with it’s sweet fragrance.

Did you know that there is actually a thing called Sensory gardens? Sensory plants have a certain taste, touch, smell or sight. The plants offer stimulations to our sensory organs which include our mouth, eyes, nose, skin and ears.

Sensory gardens were originally created to impact the senses for the blind or visually impaired, as well as for others with special physical or emotional needs. Sensory gardening is gaining popularity in gardening especially with children, as they love to focus on appreciating the senses. Nothing like the child like wonder of stopping to smell the flowers. This enhanced appreciation can be brought about by planting a thoughtful selection of plants that produce positive sensory experiences.

When you think about planning your garden, think about plants that address the senses. Plants to consider for their scent include honeysuckle, lavender, violets, mint, and chocolate cosmos, which release a chocolate-like scent. Some ornamental grasses create unique sounds, and the rustling of leaves is also soothing. Man-made additions such as wind chimes and water fountains, for example, also add to the sounds of the garden. Color doesn’t only pertain to plants, either. Choose colors carefully when adding brick, gravel, or stone to the garden. When adding color, create a balance between energizing colors and restful, soft colors to avoid overstimulation. Colorful butterflies and birds are also attracted to the nectar and colors of plants and add to the visual interest of a garden. Lamb’s ear and borage are examples of plants that are good for touch. Taste is the obvious, but maybe consider planting some edible flowers and of course herbs and vegetables.

Hope you take some time to smell, see, touch, hear and taste your plants around you.

Happy Gardening,

Mary Church

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