Well, this is a fantastic subject for lovers of plants, gardens, and open spaces. It could be argued that any garden can be a Sensory Garden, regardless of the plants within. If you think about our five senses; Sight, Sound, Taste, Touch, and Smell, all plants are going to trigger at least one or more of these. Sensory gardens are being created throughout the community for a variety of reasons. Childcare Centres, Retirement Facilities, Council Parklands, Community Gardens, Schools, and Hospitals are just some of the places where a sensory garden can be of benefit.
Okay, so let's look at how we can make one in our own outdoor space. First, what do we want the garden to achieve? Is the priority bright colours? Do we want lots of fragrances? Is it taste that we want, such as a herb/cottage garden?
SMELL - There are so many plants to satisfy this sense. Gardenia, Lavender, Rosemary, Jasmine, Roses, Geranium, and Citrus are just a few. Different scents also have different effects on the body and mind, E.g, Citrus is very refreshing and energising.
SIGHT - Wow, so many bright colours are available, that it's hard to choose, and lots of these cover more than one sense. Lavender, Gardenia, and Roses have stunningly bright flowers that smell nice too! Or what about the Gazania African Daisy or Chrysanthemum?
TOUCH - So, this is an interesting one. Choosing plants that we can touch without hurting the plant or ourselves. Soft, fury plants like Lambs Ears, The W.A Wooly 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 or Pennyroyal, or what about Mint? Oh yeah! That way you get the beautiful smell as well as the texture!
SOUND - This is a great one too. The rustling of the plants in the breeze, like Fountain Grass, or Palm Trees. Who hasn't marveled at the different sounds Bamboo creates in the wind? Also, how about a Bamboo Wind Chime hanging from a tree?
TASTE - Taste 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!
With a Sensory Garden, other elements can be used to compliment the plants, such as coloured Bark, decorative Gravel, Bird Baths, or other ornaments, and as mentioned, Wind Chimes.
So, let's get cracking. Your local Nursery can help with suggestions and design, to create that beautiful, perfect, Sensory Garden for you!