If you’re a fan of gardening and want to create a space that appeals to all of your senses, a sensory garden is a great addition to your outdoor space. Sensory garden plants are specifically chosen for their ability to engage sight, smell, touch, taste, and sound. Whether you have a small sunny spot or a large garden, there are plenty of plants to choose from that will bring beauty and interest to your space.
One popular choice for a sensory garden is ornamental grasses. Grasses not only add height and movement to your garden, but their swaying leaves also create a unique sound when the wind blows through them. Some grasses, like Stachys byzantina, also known as lamb’s ears, have soft, fuzzy leaves that are fun to touch.
Herbs are another great option for a sensory garden, as they attract butterflies and provide a bonus of fragrance and taste. Lavender, for example, has beautiful purple flowers and a lovely scent that can be enjoyed while walking through the garden or simply sitting nearby. Herbs like rosemary and thyme can also be used in cooking, adding both taste and aroma to your dishes.
If you’re looking for a plant that will add color and visual interest, consider planting philadelphus or mock orange. This shrub produces fragrant flowers in the summer and can grow up to 26ft in height. Mock orange is a good choice for those who want to screen their garden from neighbors or provide some privacy.
Bamboo is another plant that can add height and sound to your sensory garden. The leaves of bamboo rustle in the wind, creating a soothing and calming sound. Bamboo can also be used to create a natural screen or fence, adding both beauty and privacy to your outdoor space.
For those who want to add texture and touch to their garden, aged tree trunks or tree stumps are a great option. These natural elements can be used as seating or simply placed in the garden as an interesting focal point. The rough texture of the bark and the smoothness of the wood can be appreciated by running your fingers over them.
Overall, creating a sensory garden is a fun and easy way to add beauty and interest to your outdoor space. By planting a variety of plants that engage all of your senses, you can create a space that is both visually appealing and enjoyable to spend time in. So, whether you have a small sunny spot or a large garden, consider incorporating some of these sensory plants into your landscape – your senses will thank you!
Sensory garden plants
Foliage and grasses
In a sensory garden, the foliage and grasses play a crucial role in creating an appealing sensory experience. They provide beautiful textures, colors, and movement that can engage all the senses.
- Stachys: This genus of plants, also known as lamb’s ears, has soft, velvety leaves that are pleasing to touch. They also have interesting foliage colors, ranging from silvery grey to vibrant green.
- Herbs: Herbs such as lavender and rosemary have fragrant leaves that release pleasant aromas when touched or brushed against by wind. They are also known for their attractive flowers that can attract butterflies.
- Bamboo: Bamboo is known for its tall, slender shape and the soothing sound it makes when rustled by the wind. It adds a sense of movement and provides an interesting visual element to the garden.
Incorporating flowers into your sensory garden is a good way to add color and visual appeal. Here are some flower options:
- Lavender: Its beautiful purple flowers and fragrant scent make lavender a popular choice for sensory gardens. The flowers also attract butterflies, adding even more life to your garden.
- Paeonia lactiflora: Also known as peonies, these flowers are not only visually stunning but also have a pleasant scent. They come in a variety of colors and can attract butterflies and other pollinators.
- Philadelphus: Commonly known as mock orange, this shrub produces white, fragrant flowers in the summer. The flowers have a strong citrus scent that adds another sensory dimension to your garden.
Taste and sound
Sensory gardens can also include plants that engage our sense of taste and sound:
- Herbs: Including herbs such as mint, lemon balm, and chamomile in your sensory garden allows you to taste and smell their pleasant flavors. They are also easy to grow and can be used for cooking and teas.
- Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea): This flowering plant has attractive purple-pink flowers that not only provide visual interest but also produce a sound when the petals are gently touched. The petals create a rustling sound, adding a unique auditory experience to your garden.
- Bamboo: As mentioned before, bamboo creates a soothing sound when rustled by the wind. Just the sound of bamboo swaying can help create a calm and relaxing atmosphere in your garden.
Creating a sensory garden with these plants can add a whole new dimension to your outdoor space. The combination of different textures, colors, scents, tastes, and sounds can create a truly immersive sensory experience. Whether you have a small sunny space or a large garden, there are plants that can thrive in different conditions and provide sensory stimulation. With the bonus of attracting butterflies and other pollinators, incorporating these plants into your garden can be both aesthetically pleasing and beneficial for the environment.
For more information about planting and maintaining these plants, please consult gardening resources and experts to ensure that they are suitable for your specific conditions and lifestyle.
1 Curry plant Helichrysum italicum
The curry plant is a popular choice for sensory gardens due to its unique aroma and fine texture.
The sound of the plant as it rustles in the wind can add a soothing effect to your garden. It is a versatile plant that can be grown in various gardening conditions, making it an excellent choice for both experienced and novice gardeners.
Curry plants are known for their attractive foliage, which is silver-green and has a woolly texture. This plant can grow up to 50cm in height and has small yellow flowers that bloom in the summer.
The leaves of the curry plant have a strong fragrance and are often used in cooking to enhance the taste of dishes. This aromatic plant can also attract butterflies to your garden.
It is a low-maintenance plant that requires a sunny and well-drained spot in your garden. It can tolerate drought conditions and does not require much watering. Curry plants can also be planted in containers, which makes them suitable for gardens with limited space.
If you are looking for an ornamental plant that adds color and appeal to your garden, the curry plant is a good choice. Its beautiful foliage and fragrance make it a great addition to sensory gardens.
Please note: The curry plant is different from the curry tree (Murraya koenigii) which is used in Indian cuisine. The curry plant (Helichrysum italicum) does not have the same flavor as curry leaves.
2 Anethum graveolens dill
Anethum graveolens, commonly known as dill, is a fragrant and flavorful herb that can be a great addition to your sensory garden. Dill can grow up to 2-6ft in height, making it a tall and eye-catching plant. Its feathery leaves and delicate yellow flowers add color and interest to any garden.
Dill is easy to grow and can thrive in a variety of conditions. It prefers a sunny location with well-drained soil. Dill can be planted directly in the ground or in containers, making it suitable for gardens of any size. It can also be grown indoors if you have limited space or prefer indoor gardening.
In addition to its ornamental value, dill has a variety of sensory benefits. Its leaves have a unique fragrance that can be pleasant to smell, especially when crushed or rubbed between your fingers. The sound of dill rustling in the wind can also add a soothing element to your garden.
Dill is not only appealing to the senses, but it also has culinary uses. The leaves of the dill plant can be used as a spice or herb and are commonly used in pickling and seafood dishes. Adding dill to your garden can provide you with a fresh and convenient source of this flavorful herb.
Another bonus of planting dill is that it attracts butterflies to your garden. The flowers of the dill plant are particularly attractive to butterflies, making it a great choice for butterfly gardens. By adding dill to your sensory garden, you not only create a beautiful and fragrant space but also provide a habitat for butterflies.
Camomile is a fragrant and sensory plant that is easy to grow in your garden. It is well-known for its relaxing and calming properties, making it a popular addition to sensory gardens.
The flowers of camomile have a beautiful white color and a daisy-like shape. They attract bees and butterflies, adding life and movement to your garden. The green foliage of the plant is also appealing, with its feathery leaves providing a soft and interesting texture.
Camomile is a low-growing plant, reaching a height of up to 50cm. It thrives in sunny conditions and well-drained soil. It can be planted in borders, containers, or even in a small patch of garden space.
One of the best things about camomile is its strong, sweet scent. The fragrance is released when you brush against the leaves or flowers, creating a pleasant aroma in your garden. This makes it a great plant to include in a sensory garden, as it stimulates the sense of smell.
Camomile is also known for its medicinal properties. The flowers can be harvested and dried to make herbal tea, which has a soothing and calming effect. The tea can also be used topically to treat skin conditions or as a rinse for hair.
If you’re looking for an ornamental plant that will add beauty and scent to your garden, camomile is a good choice. It is easy to grow and requires minimal maintenance. Simply plant it in a sunny spot with well-drained soil, and it will spread and fill out nicely over time.
In addition to its sensory appeal, camomile also has some other useful properties. It can act as a natural insect repellent, keeping pests away from your garden. It can also attract beneficial insects, such as ladybugs and hoverflies, which will help to control unwanted pests.
To create a sensory garden that appeals to all the senses, consider combining camomile with other plants that have interesting textures, colors, and scents. Some ideas include lavender, stachys byzantina (lamb’s ears), and ornamental grasses. These plants will complement the camomile and create a visually appealing space.
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4 Lamb’s ears Stachys byzantina
Lamb’s ears, also known as Stachys byzantina, are popular plants for sensory gardens due to their unique appearance and tactile leaves. The leaves of the Stachys byzantina plants are covered in soft, velvety hairs, giving them a fuzzy texture that is appealing to touch and feel. These plants can add a touch of color and texture to your sensory garden, attracting bees and butterflies to your space.
The vibrant green or silver-gray leaves of the Stachys byzantina plants are shaped like the ears of lambs, which is how they got their common name. The leaves can grow up to 50cm (26ft) in height and spread over a space of 50cm (26ft), providing a beautiful and ornamental addition to your garden. The Stachys byzantina plants produce tall stems with small, pink or lavender flowers during the summer months, adding another sensory experience to your garden.
Lamb’s ears are easy to grow and maintain, making them a good choice for both experienced and novice gardeners. They prefer well-drained soil and full sun conditions, but can tolerate some shade as well. Stachys byzantina is a hardy plant that can withstand varying weather conditions and is known to be resistant to pests and diseases. These plants can also act as a wind screen, which is a bonus for gardeners looking to create a more peaceful and protected outdoor space.
Lamb’s ears can be planted alongside other herbs and grasses to create a sensory garden that appeals to all the senses. The fragrant foliage of the Stachys byzantina plants releases a pleasant scent when touched or brushed against, adding a touch of aroma to your garden. The interesting shape and texture of the leaves also make them great for sensory exploration, providing a tactile experience for children and adults alike.
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Buddleia, also known as butterfly bush, is a popular choice for a sensory garden. These plants will not only add color and fragrance to your garden, but they will also attract beautiful butterflies to your outdoor space. Buddleia is a low-maintenance plant that grows well in sunny and well-drained conditions.
One of the most appealing features of buddleia is its ability to grow and spread quickly. With a height ranging from 26ft to 50cm, buddleia can fill up any space in your garden. Their full foliage and vibrant flowers make them a great choice for adding visual interest to your sensory garden.
Buddleia purpurea is a popular species that produces beautiful purple flowers, while Buddleia davidii has a range of different colors to choose from, including white, pink, and blue. Both species have a strong and fragrant scent, which adds to the sensory experience in your garden.
In addition to their vibrant flowers and fragrant smell, buddleia plants also have interesting leaves that are appealing to touch. Their soft, green foliage provides a nice contrast to other plants in your garden, such as ornamental grasses or bamboo.
These plants are also a favorite among butterflies and bees, as they provide a good source of nectar. By planting buddleia in your garden, you will not only attract beautiful butterflies but also support the local ecosystem.
Growing buddleia is relatively easy, making it a great choice for those with a busy lifestyle or little gardening experience. These plants can tolerate a wide range of soil conditions, as long as it is well-drained. They also thrive in full sun, although they can tolerate partial shade.
There are a few different varieties of buddleia available, each with its own unique features. Some varieties, such as Buddleia davidii ‘White Profusion’, have larger flower heads and a more compact shape, making them a great choice for smaller gardens or for planting in containers. Other varieties, like Buddleia davidii ‘Black Knight’, have dark purple flowers that create a striking contrast against their green foliage.
If you’re looking to attract butterflies and add color to your sensory garden, buddleia is definitely worth considering. These plants are not only beautiful but also provide a sensory experience through their scent, sound, and taste. With their easy maintenance and ability to fill up space, buddleia is a great addition to any garden.
Attractive and Fragrant: Lavender plants are known to attract bees and butterflies, making them a delightful addition to any sensory garden. Their beautiful purple flowers and fragrant aroma will surely captivate your senses.
Interesting Ornamental Plants: Lavender plants come in different varieties, such as Lavandula angustifolia and Lavandula purpurea. They vary in height and color, with some reaching up to 50cm in height. The green foliage and purple flowers make them visually appealing in any garden.
Sound and Touch: The sound of lavender swaying in the wind and the soft touch of its leaves can create a calming effect in your garden. The leaves are also great for rubbing between your fingers to release their aromatic oils.
Well-Drained Soil: Lavender plants prefer well-drained soil, so make sure to prepare the right planting conditions for them. Sandy or loamy soil with good drainage is ideal.
Adds Taste and Ideas: Lavender flowers can be used to add flavor to desserts, teas, and other culinary creations. They also provide creative ideas for crafts and decor with their dried flowers.
Easy to Grow: Lavender is a low-maintenance plant that can thrive in sunny and dry conditions. It can withstand drought and has good resistance to pests and diseases.
7 Mock orange Philadelphus
- The mock orange Philadelphus is a flowering shrub that belongs to the family Hydrangeaceae.
- It is known for its beautiful and fragrant flowers, making it an appealing addition to any sensory garden.
- Philadelphus is easy to grow and thrives in well-drained soil and full sun conditions.
- It can reach a height of up to 2.6ft (0.8m) and has a spread of about 6ft (1.8m).
- This ornamental shrub produces white flowers during the summer months, which not only look stunning but also emit a sweet and pleasant fragrance.
- The mock orange Philadelphus is especially popular among butterflies, attracting them with its nectar-rich flowers.
- Its green foliage adds color and interest to the garden throughout the year.
- In addition to its sensory appeal, the mock orange Philadelphus can also serve as a windbreak, adding a natural screen to your garden.
- For those who enjoy gardening and trying out new ideas, the mock orange Philadelphus can be paired with other plants such as lavender, stachys byzantina, or even bamboo to create a visually stunning and diverse sensory garden.
- It is also a great plant for attracting birds and other wildlife to your garden.
- Overall, the mock orange Philadelphus is a versatile and attractive plant that offers both visual and sensory benefits in your garden.
8 Purple coneflower Echinacea purpurea
The Purple coneflower, scientific name Echinacea purpurea, is a beautiful perennial plant that will add color and interest to your sensory garden. It is known for its attractive flowers and foliage, making it a popular choice for gardeners.
The Purple coneflower can attract butterflies and bees, making your garden a haven for these pollinators. The flowers are also a good source of nectar for these insects.
This plant has tall stems that can reach a height of about 50cm (26ft) and a spread of about 50cm (26ft) as well. The flowers are a vibrant purple color, which adds a pop of color to your garden.
One bonus of growing Purple coneflower is that it is easy to care for. It can tolerate a wide range of conditions, including full sun and well-drained soil. It is also drought-tolerant once established, making it a great choice for those who do not have the time or desire to water their garden frequently.
The Purple coneflower is also known for its medicinal properties. It has been used for centuries to boost the immune system and treat various ailments.
If you are interested in adding Purple coneflower to your garden, it can be planted in a variety of ways. It can be planted in the ground or in containers, and it can also be used as a screen or a border plant.
To care for your Purple coneflower plants, make sure to water them regularly during the growing season. Provide them with well-drained soil and full sun conditions for best results.
In conclusion, Purple coneflower is a great addition to any sensory garden. Its vibrant purple flowers and green foliage will appeal to your senses of sight and touch.
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- Alliums are a group of plants that are known for their attractive flowers and unique shape.
- They come in various colors, including purple, white, and yellow, and can add a pop of color to any garden.
- The tall flower stems of alliums can attract bees and butterflies to your garden, making it a lively and vibrant space.
- Most alliums have long, thin leaves that sway in the wind, adding movement and interest to your sensory garden.
- Alliums prefer full sun and well-drained soil conditions, making them easy to grow in a variety of garden settings.
- Some popular varieties of alliums include Allium schoenoprasum, also known as chives, Allium sphaerocephalon, or drumstick allium, and Allium giganteum, or giant allium.
Alliums for Sensory Gardens
If you’re looking to create a sensory garden, alliums are a great choice. Their vibrant flowers, interesting shape, and fragrant leaves make them appealing to all of the senses.
Here are nine alliums that you can consider planting in your garden:
- Allium giganteum – With its tall flower stems that can reach a height of up to 2.5m (8ft), the Allium giganteum is a showstopper in any garden. Its large purple blooms attract bees and butterflies and add a touch of drama to your garden.
- Allium hollandicum ‘Purple Sensation’ – This allium variety has deep purple flowers that can grow up to 10cm (4in) in diameter. It is a popular choice for adding color and texture to a sensory garden.
- Allium cerinum – The Allium cerinum is known for its delicate pink flowers that have a sweet fragrance. It grows to a height of around 80cm (32in) and spreads slowly over time.
- Allium christophii – Also known as the Star of Persia, the Allium christophii has large, star-shaped purple flowers that can grow up to 20cm (8in) in diameter. It is a popular choice for attracting bees and butterflies.
- Allium karataviense – This allium variety has large, round flowers with pink and white petals. Its broad, fleshy, and grey-green leaves make it an interesting addition to any garden.
- Allium nevskianum – With its pale yellow flowers and grass-like foliage, the Allium nevskianum adds a touch of brightness and elegance to a sensory garden.
- Allium moly – The Allium moly is a compact variety that produces clusters of small yellow flowers. It is a great choice for adding a splash of color to a sensory garden.
- Allium roseum – This allium variety has small, rose-pink flowers that form in clusters. It is a popular choice for attracting bees and butterflies to your garden.
- Allium schoenoprasum – Also known as chives, these alliums have a mild onion taste and can be used in cooking. Their edible flowers and fragrant leaves make them a great choice for a sensory garden.
These are just a few ideas for alliums that you can incorporate into your sensory garden. There are many more varieties to choose from, each with its own unique color, shape, and fragrance.
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Bamboo is a type of grass that can have a big impact in your sensory garden. With its tall height and interesting shape, it will attract attention and add a touch of green to your garden. Bamboo is an easy plant to grow and can thrive in a variety of conditions, but it does best in well-drained soil and full sun.
One popular variety of bamboo is Phyllostachys aurea, which can reach a height of up to 26ft and spread over a wide space. Its leaves and foliage are a beautiful green color, adding a vibrant touch to your garden. Another interesting bamboo variety to consider is Phyllostachys nigra, also known as black bamboo, with its dark colored canes. This bamboo can reach a height of around 50cm and is sure to attract attention.
The sound of bamboo rustling in the wind can be quite soothing and adds to the sensory experience of your garden. In addition, some bamboo varieties have fragrant flowers that can add a pleasant aroma to your garden, such as Phyllostachys purpurea. The bonus is that bamboo can also act as a screen, providing privacy and blocking out unwanted views.
To care for your bamboo plants, make sure to water them regularly, especially during hot weather. Bamboo is a fast-growing plant, so it’s important to provide it with enough water to sustain its growth. You can also add aged compost or other organic matter to the soil to enrich it and promote healthy growth.
Bamboo is a great addition to any sensory garden. Its tall height, beautiful green foliage, interesting shape, and soothing sound make it an ideal plant for those looking to create a sensory experience in their outdoor space. Whether you have a small garden or a large one, bamboo can easily be incorporated into your landscape design.
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What plants do you put in a sensory garden
A sensory garden is a garden specifically designed to engage and stimulate the senses, offering a space that is visually appealing, fragrant, and tactile. When planning a sensory garden, it is important to choose plants that will provide a variety of sensory experiences. Here are some plant suggestions for your sensory garden:
Lavender is a popular choice for sensory gardens due to its calming fragrance and beautiful purple flowers. It attracts butterflies and bees, adding movement and color to your garden.
Ornamental grasses add movement and sound to your sensory garden. Their leaves rustle in the wind, creating a soothing sound. Some grasses, such as bamboo, also provide interesting textures to touch.
3. Stachys byzantina (Lambs’ Ears)
This plant is known for its soft, velvety leaves that are appealing to touch. Its pale green foliage adds a touch of color to your garden.
4. Philadelphus (Mock Orange)
These flowering shrubs produce delicate white flowers with a sweet fragrance. They are easy to grow and require full sun and well-drained soil.
5. Salvia purpurea (Purple Sage)
This herb has beautiful purple flowers that attract butterflies and bees. It is drought-tolerant and easy to care for.
Herbs such as rosemary, mint, and thyme have aromatic leaves that release fragrant scents when touched. They can be planted in pots or directly in the ground.
Honeysuckle produces fragrant flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds. It can be trained to climb on a trellis or used as a ground cover.
8. Scented Geranium
Scented geraniums have aromatic leaves that release fragrances when brushed against or crushed. They come in a variety of scents, including lemon, rose, and mint.
Sunflowers are not only visually appealing with their large, bright flowers, but they also attract birds and provide seeds for them to eat.
Roses are well-known for their beautiful flowers and fragrant scent. They come in a variety of colors and can be trained to climb on trellises or used as border plants.
These are just a few ideas for plants to include in your sensory garden. Remember to consider the height, spread, and sunlight requirements of each plant when planning your garden. Adding a variety of plants with different scents, textures, and colors will create a sensory-rich environment that appeals to all the senses.
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What sensory garden plants are good for autism
Creating a sensory garden can be a beneficial and therapeutic experience for individuals with autism. By incorporating plants that engage all the senses, such as touch, smell, sight, and taste, you can provide a stimulating and calming environment.
- Bamboo: Bamboo is a good option as it can grow up to 3-4m (10-13ft) in height and provides a natural green screen, creating privacy and adding an interesting shape to the garden.
- Lambs’ ears (Stachys byzantina): This plant is known for its soft, fuzzy leaves that are pleasant to touch. It forms low mounds, growing up to 50cm (20in) in height and spread, and has beautiful flowers in the summer.
- Lavender: Lavender is a sensory garden staple that is well-known for its aromatic fragrance. It thrives in full sun and well-drained conditions. Planting it near seating areas or walkways will allow the scent to be enjoyed more.
- Philadelphus: This shrub produces highly fragrant white flowers, adding both visual appeal and captivating scent to the garden.
- Ornamental grasses: These plants create movement and sound in the garden as their leaves rustle in the wind. They also attract butterflies and can provide a colorful backdrop to other plants.
- Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea): This vibrant flower can add a burst of color to the garden while attracting butterflies and bees. It is a hardy perennial that thrives in sunny conditions.
Taste and sound plants
- Herbs: Growing herbs in a sensory garden not only adds a variety of tastes but also produces sound when the leaves are touched or crushed. Some popular options include mint, rosemary, and sage.
- Aged bamboo: The dried stems of aged bamboo can be used to create sound when wind blows through them. This can add an extra sensory element to the garden.
By adding these plants to your sensory garden, you can create a space that engages all the senses and provides a calming and stimulating environment for individuals with autism.
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