A garden should not only look attractive – but it can also deliver an extremely pleasing experience for the other senses, through touch, taste, sounds and smell. Here’s how you can create your very own sensory garden this summer.
A garden based on the five senses is a great project to include kids in – and it’s fun for them to plan and plant it, and enjoy playing gardening games as an introduction to gardening. But before you re-plan your whole garden, which is not necessary, carefully consider what you’d like to achieve from this project. In many cases it’s better to start small – converting a smaller patch of the garden into an experience for the senses – it gives you an opportunity to try out your ideas without too much upheaval.
Here are some tips to get you started on tantalizing the five senses:
Sight – think about colours, shapes, patterns, and shades of lighting in your garden and how they can be combined to create a truly superb visual experience – and don’t forget to include garden ornaments as well as plants in this part.
Trees and shrubs are great for adding colour, and hardware such as paving, benches and fences can be used to provide colour and contrast too. Tonal accents can also be added through the careful use of variegated plants along with overhanging tree branches or hanging baskets.
Touch – common textures which can be included in a garden include spiky, rough, smooth, silky and soft. A good mixture of textures and colours will get your sensory garden off to a great start. When choosing flowers, plants and foliage, don’t forget to include seeds, berries, bark and twigs to help you provide a variety of textures.
Smell – there are other items which provide interesting smells apart from flowers and plants – and they’re relatively easy to include as part of your sensory garden; think about damp leaves, wood shavings, freshly mown lawn clippings, and others.
Lavender is a summer favourite – especially when caught by a summer breeze which wafts it around the entire garden. Also, try to get a mixture of both winter and summer plants which provide a superb smell sensation. Firm favourites include sweet pea (a climbing plant with a sweet smell) and chocolate cosmos (a children’s favourite due to its scent of vanilla and chocolate).
Taste – a selection of vegetables and fruit can provide an amazing taste sensation; although there are also certain edible leaves and flowers which you can include also. Consider the addition of some fruit trees to add another dimension to your garden. And raspberry bushes can also help provide a tiered profile to your garden, as well as giving you delicious summer fruit to enjoy too. Kids in particular could be encouraged to plant a herb garden to avoid any confusion as to what is and what is not edible in the garden. And of course summer strawberries and tomatoes are always a firm favourite and add not only taste but also a superb splash of colour to your garden.
Sound – two of the most easily created sounds are that of running water, which can be achieved through creating a waterfall or fountain, and the sound of tall grasses rustling in the breeze, which is easy to achieve with varieties such as greater quaking grass and Miscanthus.
So, why not get busy this summer planning your very own sensory garden to enjoy with all your family.