Gardening for the senses
Gardening is certainly a hands-on activity. From gently patting seeds into the soil to pulling weeds out, your hands are constantly involved. Looking around the garden, we see shades of every color. The fragrance of scented flowers floats through the air. Using all five of your senses can heighten your gardening experience, and even take you back to memories of times forgotten.
Visual appeal is what stirs interest in gardening for many. Hot colors such as red, orange, yellow and pink create the feeling of excitement. Shades of blue, green, lavender and white have a much more calming effect. Funeral homes will often plant evergreens due to its soothing appearance. Color is not just limited to flowers. The bright red of a male cardinal is a beautiful contrast to the white snow early in spring.
Many gardeners purposely choose flowers, trees and shrubs solely for their scent. The fragrance of a pine tree can take your mind back to Christmas Eve. Waking on creeping thyme might remind you of your favorite pizza restaurant. Springtime at grandma’s house if often associated with peony plants. Don’t take for granted the scent of wet earth after a spring rain, or crisp leaves in the fall.
Running your hand over the corky bark of an oak tree feels so different than the smooth trunk of an aspen. Thistles, roses and barberry can have thorns so sharp that they cut into the skin. The soft, velvety texture of a lamb’s ear reminds you of your favorite teddy bear. Touch is even more important when learning about your soil. Properly moistened soil will clump together without dripping water when squeezed but will easily break apart when you run a thumb over it. Please touch the ground and the plants!
Adding edible plants to the landscape is a fun way to surprise guests or even brighten up your own meals. If not sprayed with chemicals, the flowers of lavender, thyme, dill, cilantro, daylily, squash, Nasturtium, chives, and basil are all edible. Some work wonderfully in salads, while others work better infused into a recipe.
Inviting feathered friends to the garden is a wonderful way to listen to the landscape. Many plants provide a symphony of sounds as well. Wind blowing through a maple tree is a tune we all hear in autumn. Ornamental grasses rustling around create an airy lightness in the garden. One of my favorite sounds is running my hands over the dried seed pods on St. Johns Wort. It is the sound of hundreds of tiny maracas filling the air.
Next time you are in the garden, take some time to sit back and enjoy the garden with all your senses.
The Plant Lady is a regional horticulturalist with the goal is of making Bluff Country more beautiful – one garden at a time. Follow her on Facebook @PlantLadyMn for helpful tips and tricks, or via email at ThePlantLadyMN@gmail.com.