The Best Plants to Use in a Sensory Garden

Sensory Garden

A garden that can stimulate all the senses, an outdoor space that will stimulate learning – that is what Sensory gardens are all about. All landscapes are somewhat sensory and can give you much more than visual pleasure. But there are few things you can do to a garden to make it truly enjoyable to visitors so it gives them more than just a normal garden experience. You can easily transform your backyard or any garden into a delight for the senses of sound, sight, smell, taste and touch…

So, how do you actually create a sensory garden? There are few basic rules to follow – the rest is up to your imagination and creativity. You should start with choosing the perfect location which can be anything from a window box to a huge backyard. Then think about the shape and of course the visitors. They are the ones that should experience the garden so consider their ages and abilities while drawing your design. Sensory gardens are not made only for disabled people, but for everyone from kids to elders – they can all appreciate the magic of a sensory garden. Make sure the garden has comfortable seating area as well as pathways that will easily lead the visitors through the garden. Shaded areas should also be present, and if your visitors are kids than include a sandpit as well. You can also include sculptures with different textures, water features that make sounds etc. Now, the most important part of a sensory garden are the plants. Bright flowers, herbs, fruits, vegetables, climbing trees – you can include everything that is fun, fragrant but most importantly safe and edible. You need to select plants for different types of scent, feel, sound, taste and sight. Here are some of the best plants to use in a sensory garden…

Sensory Garden

Sensory Garden

Plants for smell
  • Silver wattle (Acacia dealbata) – beautifully scented flowers
  • Sea Celery (Apium prostratum) – parsley scented foliage
  • Chocolate Lily (Arthropodium strictum) – chocolate scented flowers
  • Rosemary, Mint and Lavender – because of the scent in the leaves

Also try Mock Orange, Philadelphus, some Roses, Honeysuckle, Curry Plant, and vines like Jasmine, Clematis, Sweet Pea or shrubs and trees like Citrus, Daphne, Lilad, Gardenia…

Plants for touch
  • Euonymus Alatus – for it’s corky bark
  • Prickly Moses (Acacia verticillata) – it’s prickly leaves are great to touch
  • Betula Jaquemontii – for the main stem
  • Inland Noon Flower (Corpobrotus modestus) – great to touch because of it’s succulent leaves
  • Small Leaf Clematis (Clematis mycrophylla) – it has furry seed heads that are great to touch
  • Stachys Silver Carpet – for it’s leaves

Others like Cape Jasmin, Feather Grass, Globe Amaranth, Lamb’s ears, Lily, Poppy, Statice, Wormwood, Tall and Curly Sage, Common Daisy, Water Buttons, Silky Blue Grass etc.

Sensory Garden

Sensory Garden

Plants for sight
  • Sunflowers (Helianthus annus) – bright, bold looking flowers
  • Love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena) – bright blue flowers
  • Chameleon plant (Houttuynia cordata – Chameleon) – three toned foliage

You would like to choose plants that are not only beautiful to the eye, with bright colors and interesting shapes, but also plants that provide movement like Eucalyptus Gunii or Salix trees. Use flowers like violets, primroses, narcissus etc

Plants for sound
  • Spreading Flax Lily (Dianella admixta) – it has rattling seed pods
  • Golden Tip (Goodia Lotifolia) – it also has rattling seed pods strawberries
  • Black She-oak (Allocasuarina litoralis) – the wind whistles trough it’s branches
  • Bamboo – the sound of the wind whistling trough both stems and leaves

Others like Balloon flower, Chinese lantern plant, Money plant, Pampas grass and large leafed plants in general.

Plants for taste
  • Ruby Salt Bush (Enchylanea Tomentosa) – a great tasting edible fruit
  • Flax Lily (Dianella brevicaulis) – again an edible fruit
  • Black Wattle (Acacia mearnsii) – great taste because it has sap

Also safe vegetables and fruits like tomatoes, pumpkins, cucumbers, melons, carrots, strawberries, as well as herbs like mint, dill, parsley etc.

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