A sensory garden stimulating the senses. This stimulation occurs courtesy of plants and the use of materials that engage one’s senses of sight, smell, touch, taste, and sound. These types of gardens are popular with and beneficial to both children and adults, especially those who have sensory processing issues, including autism and other disabilities.
When planning a sensory garden, it is important to feature elements that appeal to all five senses. For visual stimulation, or sight, colour is an important consideration.
Chose plants that are durable enough to withstand frequent brushing or handling. Look for textures in soft flowers, fuzzy leaves, springy moss, rough bark, succulent leaves, prickly seed pods. Enjoy the textures of sage, rosemary, thyme, tarragon, both types of parsley, mint.
Accessories can include rocks and sculptures in a variety of shapes, sizes and textures. Use sculpted handrails for safety and added textures.
Rosemary, sage, tarragon, fragrant creeping herbs, such as thyme, are planted along pathways, walking or wheeling on them will release their aroma intense smell like rosemary or peppermint. Rosemary also has a very good texture and in the spring/summer it has tiny pretty purple flowers. All these herbs are great for cooking too!
Roses are a good choice in flowers if you know how to deal with ‘its’ thorny issues’.
Crushing and smelling a plant part works well.
Use plants in all shades of green foliage with various leaf shapes, and different colours of flowers. Choose colourful plants that change through the season offering a new facet with each one.
Mobiles, bird baths and sculptures can add visual stimuli as well as sunlight and shadows dancing along all surfaces.
Accessories for enhancing visual pleasure include colour flood lights, torches, mirrors, and gazing globes
Have herbs like mints and chives to provide both scent and taste opportunities. Cherry Tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries, edible flowers, fruit trees and the endless vegetables will offer the taste buds an array of choices.
Kids will hear the sound of wind rushing through the leaves, grasses rustling and seed pods of some plants rattling. The eucalyptus tree has a fantastic sound to it because when there is a breeze it almost rattles.
Have non-plant materials (wind chimes, fountain bubbling).
Birdsongs will fill the garden if birds baths, bird-attracting plants, bird feeders and bird houses are provided and maintained.
Accessories for bringing sounds to the garden include waterfalls, fountains, water harps and wind chimes.
PDF Education Supplies have created a weatherproof outside sign to display in your Sensory Garden (it will last outside for a good few years) www.pdfeducationsupplies.com.au
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