A guide to sensory garden plants and their therapeutic benefits.

Photo of lambs ear plant

Sensory gardens are transformative spaces that engage all five senses, offering a unique blend of therapeutic benefits.

These carefully curated landscapes are more than just visually appealing; they serve as natural sanctuaries for relaxation, cognitive stimulation, and sensory exploration.

Designed to be inclusive and interactive, sensory gardens provide a soothing environment that caters to individuals with various conditions, such as autism, Alzheimer's disease, and anxiety disorders, enhancing their emotional well-being and sensory processing abilities.

Alexis Ashworth, Root in Nature logo

Alexis Ashworth, Founder & CEO Root in Nature

Therapeutic Benefits of Sensory Gardens

The benefits of sensory gardens extend beyond their beauty. They are a source of comfort and healing, promoting stress reduction and relaxation through gentle engagement with nature. For individuals with cognitive challenges, these gardens stimulate memory and cognitive function, offering a peaceful retreat that evokes memories and encourages reminiscence.

Physical health is also enhanced as these gardens motivate visitors to engage in physical activity, improving motor skills and coordination. Sensory gardens also serve as educational platforms, enriching users' knowledge about plants, wildlife, and the environment, while fostering social interaction and community engagement.

Root in Nature’s Favourite Sensory Plants

Plants that are visually stimulating:

  • Sunflowers stand tall, their large, bright blooms following the sun, symbolizing nature's vibrancy. They're a source of joy and a visual anchor in gardens.
  • Black Eyed Susans, with their golden-yellow petals and dark centers, bring a dynamic visual appeal and invite pollinators, enhancing the garden's liveliness.
  • Japanese Maples are visually striking, offering serene beauty with their intricate leaves and stunning fall colors, perfect for tranquil retreats and adaptable to smaller spaces.
lavender and mock orange plants

Plants that offer pleasant aromas:

  • Rosemary's robust scent is linked to memory enhancement, making it an asset for cognitive health in garden settings.
  • Mock Orange, with its sweet, citrus-like aroma, blooms in late spring, enriching gardens with its delightful fragrance.
  • Lavender is famed for its calming scent, contributing to a peaceful garden environment and aiding relaxation.

Plants that encourage auditory stimulation:

  • Bamboo creates calming music as the wind moves through its leaves and stems, offering auditory stimulation.
  • Ornamental Grasses whisper as they sway, adding a gentle, relaxing sound to the sensory garden.
wild strawberry, mint

Plants that have wonderful flavour:

  • Basil offers a fresh, aromatic flavor, enhancing culinary dishes and garden experiences.
  • Mint brings a cool, refreshing taste to foods and drinks, adding a burst of freshness.
  • Woodland Strawberries delight with their sweet, aromatic flavor, thriving in shaded areas and encouraging garden exploration through taste.

Learn More

Discover more sensory plant examples in a complimentary lesson from Root in Nature's online course: Introduction to Therapeutic Horticulture.  Sign up using the link in the More Information box below.

GET MORE INFORMATION

Learn more about the benefits of sensory gardens and how to create your own in Root in Nature’s expanded article: Your Ultimate Guide to Sensory Plants & Their Therapeutic Benefits.

Sign up for a free lesson from Root in Nature's online course: Introduction to Therapeutic Horticulture.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Root in Nature strengthens human health by connecting people with plants and nature through therapeutic horticulture, while serving as a training hub and professional growth platform for practitioners in the field.

Learn more about their work at RootinNature.ca.

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