A sensory garden is one that is designed using plants that have special sensory qualities plants that will stimulate our sense of sight, smell, touch, or taste. The idea of using plants that are especially suited to stimulating responses from our senses not only makes for a pleasing area for us to visit but will attract desirable wild life such as butterflies and humming birds as well adding even more sensory stimulants to the garden.
They idea of sensory gardens was first conceived of for the blind or those who were visually impaired as well as those or those with other special physical or emotional needs. These were designed to offer something that could be enjoyed by those that had use of some but not all
of their senses. Today however more and more the sensory garden is being used to create a greater appreciation of the world around us and to focus on people with all abilities. The selection of plants that will provide a positive sensory experience and enhance the persons life an sense of well being is the cornerstone of these type of gardens.
The sensory garden is divided into five sections to match the senses. Sight, taste, smell, touch, and sound they are made with plants as well as natural and man made elements that can stimulate a specific sensory response. Ornamental Grasses bring both a visual stimulus as it sways in the breeze as well as a sound stimulus as it rustles in the wind. A fountain gently splashing or the roar of a waterfall bring the sound of the movement of water to the garden. As well as the sound of the singing birds that are attracted by the water.
You can stimulate both the sense of sight and smell with the sue of plantings of fragrant flowers and foliage. Flowers are generally the first thing that some to mind when thinking of smell in the garden but many plants have fragrant leaves as well. Try to incorporate herbs such as thyme and rosemary release a strong fragrance when stepped on or crushed. Roses are an all time classic when it comes to scents.
When it comes to touch flowers and foliage can offer a wide variety of interesting textures flowers can be soft and smooth or waxy some may produce interesting seed pods or have prickly stems. Leaves can be smooth or velvety silky or puckered . Really exam plants to find those with interesting attributes.
As for the sense of taste yes there are fruits and vegetables but what about other types of plant parts. Edible flowers can add a new dimension to the garden. Deep fried squash flowers or candied violets not to mention tea made from rose hips.
Over all the idea is to create a garden that allows you to start enjoying the natural world around you in different ways than you are accustomed to, using all your senses.