Sensory gardens are all about creating a space that ignites our senses through touch, scent, sight and sound. They can be used for many reasons. A sensory garden can be a relaxing experience and made to be calming or soothing. They can be a way for young children to explore and understand their senses. They can also greatly benefit autistic people as it allows for the exploration of senses in a safe and secure environment. Here at Grangewood Garden Centre we have come up with some ideas to implement into your own sensory garden.
Stimulating the Senses
To begin with, why not install fragrant plants and climbers around seating areas and walkways. By doing this, when people are moving around your garden, they are being exposed to different scents and their senses are being stimulated. They look great too, and create a pleasant environment for you and your guests to sit in. We recommend using evening fragrance flowers, especially if you enjoy entertaining in the evening. A popular choice would be Wisteria or Star Jasmine which have particularly fragrant flowers. This way you can entertain surrounded by their natural perfume.
Solitude & Relaxation
If you’re looking for a sensory garden made for solitude and relaxation, why not try more relaxing scents? Again, jasmine is a great one for this, but we can’t forget about lavender. It’s beautiful purple blooms release a fragrance that’s world renowned for its relaxing properties. Can you think of any better way to relax before bed than sitting in your garden surrounded by lavender? So many products are made from it, but it definitely can’t get better than when it’s in its purest form. Not a fan of lavender? Eucalyptus and rose are also great plants with calming scents.
Provoking Memories in a Sensory Garden
Another way of using scent is by finding plants with scents that provokes memories. This is particularly good if you’re creating a sensory garden for someone with memory issues. Whether it’s the key note in the perfume they used to wear, or a plant they had in their garden growing up, using these in your sensory garden can creating a very soothing and peaceful place for them to be. It creates a feeling of familiarity in the garden and helps to bring back memories that may seemingly be forgotten.
Awakening Your Sense of Touch
Finally, we recommend bringing in some foliage that’s soft to touch. Sensory gardens aren’t all about smell, having plants that you can feel is part of it too. Many plants have unique textures, such as the Lamb’s Ear. This plant has thick, woolly white leaves that are soft to touch and feel like velvet. A similar plant is silver sage, whose white leaves feel like cotton-wool. If you’re looking for a bit more colour, Jerusalem Sage is another plant with soft leaves, except this one has yellow flowers. Incorporating these into your sensory garden will allow you to awaken your sense of touch as well.
Building an Experience
Purposefully choosing what you put in your garden to appeal to your senses is a fantastic way to build a garden. Not only are you creating a space you will enjoy more, but you’re being thoughtful about the way it will make you and others feel and creating an atmosphere with intent. It’s not just a garden you’re building, but an experience that can be enjoyed by everyone.
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