A sensory garden is designed to appeal to all senses so it is all about sight, smell touch and ease of access. A sensory garden can have special importance for gardeners, friends and family with impaired senses. The aim is to construct a garden using plants which appeal to the senses and which are tactile, and strongly scented.
Plants may need to be incorporated into raised beds for easy access so they can be reached, touched and enjoyed. In a sensory garden, the choice of plants and flowers is all about those which are especially good to be enjoyed by touch and smell. In addition to grasses, the image center above shows Stachys byzantina 'Big Ears' which has lovely soft downy leaves which are soft to touch and will trail downwards if planted in a raised bed. Stachys only produce a single, soft flower spike with pale lavender flowers but which are very attractive to bees, a good addition to the sensory garden.
Scent is very important in any garden and especially a sensory garden. Lavender and rosemary produce scent to the touch and there are a number of pelargoniums (also known as geraniums) which have strongly scented leaves when stroked or picked such as 'Aroma', crispum 'Variegatum', (lemon scented leaves) 'Fragrans', (pine scented) 'Graveolens' of gardens, (sweet scented) 'Old Spice' ,(spicy scented) 'Prince of Orange',(orange scented) Sweet Mimosa, and many more. These are available from specialist growers, but they are not hardy and must be overwintered under glass in frost free environment. Pelargoniums will survive well in a conservatory tolerating the extremes of heat and produce colour and scent as part of an indoor garden. In a raised bed they are colourful and the leaves will release a variety of scents when touched.