Just for Fun / 04/10/2020

How to Build a Sensory Garden

Here at Variety, we have a sensory garden, which is enjoyed by all of our clients, counselors, and staff. Right now, it’s starting to come alive! The Daffodils have bloomed and many of the plants are pushing through the ground. It is a rebirth after the long winter.

A sensory garden is a garden that has a collection of plants that are appealing to one or more of the five senses: sight, smell, sound, taste, and touch. Sensory gardens should be accessible for all people to enjoy. At Variety, our sensory garden is wheel-chair accessible and plants are at different heights so children do not have to bend over to touch, see, or smell. During this time of uncertainty, starting your own sensory garden could be a fun activity for the family. Create a plan with your children for their own special place.

Here’s how to create one!

Choose a sunny area of your yard or maybe an established flower bed.

Next, choose plants according to the 5 senses.

For touch:  Plants with leaves that are soft like Lamb’s Ear, or Scented Geranium and Celosia. In our garden, we have rough leaves like Persian Shield and spiky Coneflower.  You and your child can add anything in this area like pine cones, or bark that have different textures.

For smell: Plant herbslike Basil, Dill, Onion and Chives.  Also, Anise Hyssop, Creeping Thyme, and Mint (be sure to contain mint), Lavender, and Rosemary.

For hearing: Try Native Grasses or Baptisia, which gets seed pods in the fall and make a rattling sound. Add wind chimes and seashells to put to your ear.

For taste: Nasturtiums really pretty flowers that taste like pepper, spearmint in a container or grow a vegetable like cucumbers.

For sight: Any colorful plants that YOU love.  Marigolds, Petunias and Sunflowers are very colorful!

Remember, there is more to a sensory garden than just plants. It can be anything you’d like to add for a sensory experience. Think painted stones, sticks, a bird house, or a shallow bowl for water for butterflies or hummingbirds.  Add colorful pots or fun things like an old shoe with a plant inside.

You can also take a nature hike on a nice day with your family and you will be surprised at all of the things you can find based on the 5 senses to place in your garden!

This post was submitted by Mark and Cheryl Brumbaugh, who take care of our Greenhouse and Gardens at Variety.