Thanks to Tracey Hunter for inspiring me to create a list of sensory plants for raised planters! Tracey is the Recreation Manager at Berwick on the Lake Retirement Community in Nanaimo, BC. Here's her email:
I created a list for Tracey (and for you): 56 of my favourite plants for encouraging sensory engagement, and six natural features that I recommend including in your sensory garden.
These plants are specifically suited to raised planter gardens in Southwestern British Columbia, the Pacific Northwest, and other places with a similar temperate maritime climate. I’ve excluded plants that would overwhelm raised planters with their size or their spreading growth habit.
If you print the sensory plant list to take with you when plant shopping, set your printer to landscape orientation rather than portrait.
Each sensory plant may come in several varieties, and there are many other sensory plants besides the ones on my list, so I wrote up some guidelines to help you choose sensory plant varieties when shopping at a garden centre or nursery.
VegTrugs™ (which Tracey mentioned) are designed to enable accessible gardening while standing or sitting. The slanted sides provide room for knees and feet. And because they raise the soil up, they bring sensory plants closer to nose and fingers (so important to everyone's enjoyment!).
Of course, VegTrugs™ are not the only raised planters available, but these days, they are widely available and more affordable than before.
Legacy Health in Portland, Oregon is making therapeutic gardens a top priority for reducing staff stress and fatigue and for encouraging staff to take regular breaks in the garden near their unit. Legacy Health's interdisciplinary garden design process and their randomized controlled trials are leading the way for other hospitals.