Planting for Your Senses: An Intro to Sensory Gardening

by Halley -Author at MIGardener

Written by - Kaitlynn from MIgardener

We have always known that gardening is good for us!

Over the years, scientists and therapists have found the most refreshing aspects of gardening and combined them to create a therapeutic experience. The idea of sensory gardening was inspired by the horticultural therapy movement in the UK during the 1970s. By planning your garden for each of your five senses, you can create a relaxing atmosphere for yourself and others to enjoy. Although originally made for those with specific needs in mind, everyone benefits from a sensory garden!

If you are fairly new to gardening, a sensory garden might be the way to go! It will give you the opportunity to use your creativity in ways you might not have considered before. If you find a handful of varieties for each of these categories, you can build a magical getaway in your own back (or front) yard.

Here's how to start gardening for your senses:


Sensory Garden

Imagine taking a break from your phone. Imagine taking some time to look at something truly beautiful in order to give your brain rest from the bustle of social media. Having a space to unwind and remind ourselves that we are human beings can be a life changing activity in 2019! Planting pretty flowers isn't the only way to beautify your garden. Add sculptures, windmills, or sun catchers to a space to add an element of beauty you might not expect to see!

Plant: poppies, daisies, sunflowers, hydrangeas, wall climbing morning glories

Add: Sculptures, windmills, sun catchers


Sensory Garden

Incorporating sound into a sensory garden can be as simple as hanging wind chimes or adding a water fountain. Plant varieties that attract wildlife to enhance the serene atmosphere of your sensory garden. Concentrating on the sounds happening naturally in your garden can help you focus your breathing in order to relax. A butterfly bush or bird bath will encourage beautiful animals and insects to your space.

Plant: butterfly bush, bee balm, foxglove, petunia

Add: water fountain, bird bath, wind chimes, bird/hummingbird feeder


Sensory garden

It's important to note that sensory gardens come in all shapes and sizes! Easy to pick varieties are perfect for sensory gardens. Plant small fruits and veggies so you'll have something to snack on while you wander! If you're new to gardening, choose a handful of varieties to start to help spark your love for it! If you have small children, plant one or two plants that they can pick from. This can be a great introduction for them into the world of gardening.

Plant: strawberries, blueberries, carrots, cherry tomatoes, green beans, cucamelon


Sensory Garden

Walking around any green space can be it's own form of instant aromatherapy. The sense of smell is the sense with the quickest link to the brain and therefore causes physical and emotional responses to any surrounding smell. Imagine how horrible it feels when someone is wearing much too much perfume or cologne. Aromatherapy causes the exact opposite reaction in our brains. When we immerse ourselves in an atmosphere dedicated to fresh natural scents, it can instantly cause us to de-stress. Plant your favorite herbs and flowers so their scents can guide you through your sensory garden.

Plant: sage, lavender, basil, rosemary, lemon balm, mint, chamomile, lilac


sensory garden

Growing up, the worst thing about visiting most museums on school trips was that I couldn't touch anything I saw! Even if the paint in the paintings was extra splodgy and cool, I was only allowed to look at it.  There's nothing better than being able to touch the cool looking things around you. In sensory gardens, touching helps us connect with nature and focus our thoughts on different textures. Soft lambs ear is a favorite for this section! Make sure to leave the roses out this time.

Plant: Lambs ear, curly parsley, borage, geraniums

Remember, when it comes to your sensory garden, creativity is key!

Planning your own sensory garden? What varieties would you most like to plant?

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