If you’re immersed in winter weather, or just needing a nature break, take a moment to enjoy the sights and smells of a sunny Australian garden. Santolina (shown above) is one of my favourites to rub and sniff for a pungent, heady experience.
See the purple Jacaranda blooms peeping over the olive hedge? Welcome to the Sensory Garden at the Urrbrae House Historic Precinct of the University of Adelaide in South Australia. Let’s go in!
Lynette Zeitz, historian and education program developer at Urrbrae House, said visitors are often unaware that this is a sensory garden. But now they’ll know! Lynette placed my garden activity signs in strategic spots to encourage more sensory engagement with the plants, like this rosemary shrub.
Lynette wrote to me: “The signs look great in the garden and my colleagues have commented that they really like the designs. As I was putting the signs in the Sensory Garden a five-year-old girl and her mother came into the garden and started using the signs to examine the plants more closely. So I would say they are a hit.“
Enjoy Lynette’s descriptions and photos of these sensory delights:
“Visitors often don’t notice the fruits on trees (like the persimmons)”
“Or they forget to stop to look up into the canopy of the trees like the maple and jacaranda.”
and the Sandpaper fig tree.”
“In addition, visitors may gently touch plants like the lemon-scented pelargonium...
...and curry plant to experience the wonderful perfumes that leaves can hold.”
“The garden has a focus on purple, red and yellow as colour palettes in the plantings. Currently the garden is awash with purple as the jacaranda tree is in bloom along with statice, lavender and salvia.”
“This last photo was taken in early autumn when the native Lemon Myrtle tree was in bloom.”
I appreciate the thoughtfulness that went into Lynette’s order of garden activity signs. I could imagine her thinking of the sensory opportunity that each plant offers and choosing which type of sign would best fit. Made me smile.
Are you thinking that signs like these would add interest to your garden? Click here to place your order.
Thanks to Lynette Zeitz for sharing photos of this warm, sunny, sensory garden! You can read more here about the garden and about Urrbrae House.
What if you could choose to temporarily trade your ‘to do’ list and your busy thinking mind for fascination, playful curiosity, and a childlike sense of wonder?
On Monday we begin our shared online journey to noticing nearby nature for self-care. We’re going beyond vibrant sunsets and rainbows to finding wonder in everyday nature. Join us.
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.