A Garden for the Senses

September 9, 2021 Angie Andrade , Associate Director (Therapeutic Horticulture)

Our senses allow us to understand the world around us. By sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing we can intimately experience our surroundings every day. When we enter a garden, our senses come alive with the scent of fresh blooms, the sound of the birds cheerfully singing and the sight of soothing plant textures and color combinations. 

sensory garden flower


In the Sensory Garden you are invited and encouraged to explore your senses by interacting directly with the plants and the garden around you. The plants of this garden are intentionally chosen for their ability to evoke the senses. Plants like Mimosa pudica, or sensitive plant, that when touched folds its leaves right before your eyes. The Pelargonium tomentosa, or peppermint geranium, has the softest leaves and when rubbed releases the distinct smell of fresh peppermint. Carex caryophyllea ‘Beatlemania’ not only has a great cultivar name but its common name, mop head sedge, perfectly describes its hair-like appearance. Melissa officinalis, lemon balm, is an old-fashioned herb that has the smell of citrus blooms and can be used to brew a refreshing summer tea. An annual, Impatiens balsamina, or touch me not, grows seed heads that at the perfect moment when squeezed explode its seeds right between your fingers. 

The plant world is amazing, and the Sensory Garden highlights some of the softest, strangest and most fragrant plants in the Gardens. Make sure to visit the Sensory Garden soon and get lost in the sights, sounds, textures and smells. 

sensory garden


This article appears in the summer issue of Inside the Gardens magazine. Read it and other issues. 


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