What Is a Sensory Garden?
A sensory garden is a garden that has a collection of plants that are appealing to one or more of the five senses; sight, smell, sound, taste, and touch. Sensory gardens should be accessible for all people to enjoy – disabled and non-disabled. Sensory gardens are typically geared towards young children, but are enjoyed by people of all ages.
This type of garden not only allows you to connect to nature, but encourages you to become more aware of your surroundings and your response to them, tapping into the principles of mindfulness.
Spending time in a sensory garden can help enhance your sense of wellbeing, reduce stress and calm your mind.
Make a sensory garden for kids with a theme such as Scratch n Sniff’ Theme. With this you would use different textures for walkways like paving slabs and crushed gravel. Use a variety of mulch options such as bark, pebbles, sand, etc. In addition to plants, include different types of screening like bamboo or lattice fencing.
Sensory gardens include features, surfaces, objects and plants that stimulate our senses through touch, sight, scent, taste and hearing. They are places that can be designed with many different purposes in mind. Such as using pathways, wind chimes, edible plants, and high fragrance flowers. Start with a well thought out plan and be sure to accommodate space for the mature size of the plants you have chosen. Incorporate hardscape elements such as benches, paths, water fountains, bird feeders, and garden art into the sensory space for an added effect.
Growing Guide: Sensory Plants for your garden.
Plants come in all sorts of shapes, colors, sizes, with seemingly infinite fragrances and tastes. However, not all plants are good choices for a sensory garden — some of the most beautiful are the most toxic, and some invite a closer look only to snag you with a thorn. Following are some good options for your garden. The first sense impression of a garden is usually sight, and in this domain plants are an especially rich source of variation in size, shape, color, and visual texture. Plants in hot colors — reds, yellows, oranges — draw the eye and bring energy to a garden spot. Cool colors, on the other hand, tend to recede and calm, making them an ideal backdrop for a quiet seating area. A few flower ideas are Sunflowers, Zinnia, and Snapdragons
These are “hands-on” plants — offering a surprising variety of textures and surfaces, some begging to be caressed, others offering a more “pointed” experience. In addition to plants, you can display rough pieces of bark, river-smoothed stones, pinecones, moss-covered branches, and other natural materials to expand this touch-sense opportunity.
Our minds are so tuned into smells that one whiff of a fragrance can call up memories from events long ago. Including plants with a variety of scents in your sensory garden offers visitors the opportunity to explore the incredible variety of fragrances plants offer — and perhaps they’ll begin creating their own olfactory memories! A few plant ideas are Basil, mint, lavender.
Depending on the design of your garden space and your intended clientele, it might be best to group all the “tasting” plants together to eliminate confusion about what’s okay to sample. Here are a few suggestions for plants; additional options include basils and other culinary herbs and any garden vegetable. A few plants that are great for tasting would be strawberries, Lettuce, cherry tomatoes, and peppers.
It’s always a good idea to clearly label your plants. Visitors will learn the name of the plant, and it can be useful information in case something is consumed that shouldn’t be.