Sensory Gardens - what are they exactly?
Well in a nutshell, they are gardens that provide sensory satisfaction to the one or more of the five Senses of the person enjoying the garden!
Igniting these different senses can have a positive effect on the emotional and mental wellbeing of a person, which is why Sensory Gardens are so popular in community locations such as Child Care Centres, Retirement Facilities, Council Parklands, Community Gardens, Schools & Hospitals.
So how you can make one in your own outdoor space to enjoy?
To do this you first need to ask yourself:
"What do I want my garden to achieve?"
Is the priority bright colours? Do you want lots of fragrances? Is it taste you want (e.g. herbs in a cottage garden setting)?
This may be the easiest one to start off with, as all plants technically add to the visual effect of a garden! One of the best ways to add impact with sight is to add bright colours... it's hard to choose which one to add, as many cover more than one sense. Lavender, Gardenia & Roses have stunningly bright flowers that smell nice too. Or what about Gazania, African Daisy or Chrysanthemum? Try adding some year-round colourful foliage with Cordylines, Crotons & Bromeliads. Another element to add is different shapes and sizes. Introduce some large leaf plants like Philodendrons, Heliconias or large, tall fronds from a Palm tree to contrast to smaller leaf plants.
There are so any plants to satisfy this sense. Gardenia, Lavender, Rosemary, Jasmine, Roses, Geranium, and Citrus are just a few well-loved varieties to choose from. Adding these near an entry or walkway is a fantastic way to ensure you will enjoy the scents often, especially if it can drift into an open window into your home.
So, this is an interesting one... Choosing plants we can touch without hurting the plant or ourselves can be a tricky thing. Soft fury plants like Lambs Ears, The W.A. Woolly Bush, Bottlebrush, Curry Bush and Lavender come to mind. Or chunky flowers such as Banksia, or the seed pod of the Poinciana or Leopard Tree. It may even be a ground cover that we can put our bare feet on, like the no-mow grass Zoysia or Pennyroyal. Or even mint! That way you can get a beautiful smell as well as the texture.
This can be one of the most fun to add in, the rustling of the plants in the breeze, like Fountain Grass or Palm trees. And anyone who has visited our bamboo forests will have marvelled at the gentle creaking and groaning the bamboo culms make as they sway. Also, how about a natural bamboo wind chime hanging from the tree? Or a water feature to add a gentle trickle of water?
This sense is a very specific sense for a separate garden chosen carefully. Think of all the lovely herbs and cottage garden plants that are edible like Nasturtium, Viola and Pansy, as well as a lot of veggies of course. Adding some fruit trees can be a fantastic way to incorporate colour, touch and taste into the garden!
With a sensory garden, other elements can be used to compliment the plants such as coloured bark or decorative pebbles, bird baths or other ornaments. Wind chimes especially can add a real magical quality to the environment!
We have everything you need for a Sensory Garden available at our Retail Garden Centre on the Gold Coast so feel free to drop in 7 days a week 9am-5pm and our friendly staff would be more than happy to assist!