What is more pleasant on a sunny than spending a few moments to relax in the garden. Pretty often, though, we restrict the experience to simply contemplating the beauty of trees, shrubs and flowers. That’s of course very true. However, let us not forget that gardens can also stimulate your other senses, too: smell, touch, taste and hearing. How can this be? The solution is quite straightforward: create a sensory garden.
Sight: paint a picturesque landscape
The first of all senses when we imagine a garden in our mind’s eye, is, of course, sight. Before even hearing, smelling, touching or tasting, as one enters the garden, colors and shapes are what stand out, those of flower beds for example. It’s also perhaps the easiest sense to please, and for that, simply follow our guide on planting a flower bed.
Smell: create a fragrant atmosphere
Second sense that rises to awareness in the garden: smell. What a pleasing sensation to inhale the sweet fragrance of flowers, the scents wafting from leaves when the hand or a breeze rustles through them.
Plants with delicious scents
- Perennials: carnation, echinacea, peony, star jasmine;
- Bulbs: lily;
- Shrubs: skimmia, lavender, rose trees (‘Korrezia’, ‘King Arthur’, ‘Sylvia Vartan’, ‘Abbeyfield’);
- Trees: lime tree, Eucryphia.
Plants with fragrant leaves
- Perennials: santolina, lemon thyme, wild thyme, thyme, chamomile, mint, bee balm, oregano, deadnettle;
- Shrubs: rosemary, lavender, Mexican orange, laurel;
- Trees: the caramel tree.
Touch: make contact with your plants
- how soft a leaf might be (Stachys, Pelargonium, mimosa, lady’s mantle, etc.), a smooth slab of bark (birch, Lagestroemia, the feathery caress of grass when walking barefoot;
- the softness of grass seed panicles (Pennisetum, Miscanthus, Chasmanthium, etc.);
- the rough strength of oak bark, maple, etc.
Taste: a palatable garden
Apples, pears, strawberries, raspberries, cherry tomato quickly come to mind when the idea of fruits and berries arises. However, there is a number of much more original plants that will also set your taste buds tingling. For instance, in no particular order: sage, chocolate mint or peppermint, oregano, chives, lemon thyme, etc.
Go for an even more surprising pick with a plant that tastes like oysters, Mertensia maritima!
- IMPORTANT: innumerable are the species of the plant world, and though some are edible, most aren’t edible at all. So before nibbling off any portion of any plant, make sure it’s safe to eat.
Sound: the gardener’s symphonic orchestra
In truth, this isn’t the easiest of senses to stimulate in the garden, but, nonetheless, with just a few easy tricks, your garden will become a wonder for the ears even as your eyes stay closed.
Listen to the rustle of leaves
Some species such as birch and poplar have leaves that are so light that the slightest breeze sends them trembling. Grasses can also send soft music to your ears. Taller species are better for this, such as Miscanthus or pampas grass.
The jolly frolicking of bubbling water
A garden is more than just plants. Nothing should stop you from adding water into your own patch of greenery. Set a fountain or a waterfall up in a small basin for instance. No need for heavy machinery, there are many easy and affordable options, such as solar-powered fountains that float on water directly.
Learn to love the buzz
With a few melliferous plants, you’ll call onto all pollinator insects to come set up shop in your flower beds. This will let you wallow in the soothing buzz of honeybees for instance. These particularly love lavender, lime trees, Eucryphia, Saint John’s wort, etc.
In addition to the natural sounds of rustling foliage, hand a few wind chimes in the wind, they’ll add a soft jingle to your sensory experience. With all these ideas, get ready to multiply the pleasant experiences that await in your garden, switching from one pleasant sensation to the next.
Bubbles by Alexandra Stockmar under Pixabay license
Smells in the garden by Victoria Borodinova under Pixabay license
Touching a leaf by Bruce Iam under Pixabay license
Herbs that taste good by Cornelia Gerhardt under Pixabay license
Sounds of water by Martin Pettitt under © CC BY 2.0
Sensory garden plaque by Daud under © CC BY 2.0