Gardening with Children

Family Zone

Create a Sensory Garden

Date Posted: 01 July 2015

Gardens are wonderful places and good for the soul, whenever I am in mine I am surrounded by wonderful fragrances and sounds it really does lift my spirits and definitely makes me feel better.

To fully experience all that a garden can offer why not create a Sensory Garden, with sensory plants and features that will bring it to life and stimulate all five of your amazing senses: SightSoundSmellTouch and Taste.


Grow bright and colourful flowers, plant them in blocks or in contrasting colours such as purple and orange or red and white.

Stems and bark can provide interest; Swiss chard has bright coloured pink, red and yellow stems and glossy green leaves which are delicious, Dogwoods have tall, colourful stems, plant in groups for an attractive display in Winter/Spring, Silver Birches have white trunks that glow and Eucalyptus trees smooth trunks with peeling bark.

Silver Birch

Grow plants that have contrasting textures and shapes, plant grasses next to big leaves, smooth leaves next to feathery or serrated leaves.

Include plants that move in the wind; grasses, bamboos and weeping trees such as willow which will provide shade too.

Bulbs will give a wonderful display right through the year from Snowdrops, Daffodils, Fritillaries, Tulips, Bluebells, Alliums, and Lilies they don’t take up much room and will fill any gaps.


Autumn and Winter planting can include trees and shrubs that produce fruit and berries, and those that have dramatic seed heads and leaves that change colour.

Sunflowers have a place in every garden with their large bright flowers of yellow or orange and their tall straight stems, their flowers are loved by the bees and insects and the seeds by the birds in Autumn and Winter.

Sunflower 1

To give structure to the garden grow plants at different heights in containers such as raised beds, window boxes, hanging baskets, mangers these will make the plants more accessible and easier to see.

Add height to your garden, arches will create focal points, garden screens can be used to create a secret area and trellis can be fixed to bare walls or fencing, all can be used to grow flowers (roses, sweet peas, clematis, passion flowers), fruits (grapes, apples, pears) and vegetables (beans, peas, cucumbers, squashes).

 Runner Bean Tower


Hang wind chimes and bells in trees and bushes.

Wind chime

Grow plants with leaves that rustle (bamboo, sweet corn) and seed heads that rattle (Love in a mist)

Put up bird feeders and nest boxes to attract Birds to your garden, so that you can listen to their birdsong throughout the year.

Nyjer Seed Feeder

Get your garden ‘buzzing’, grow scented nectar rich plants that will draw in Bees and Insects.

Add a water feature with dripping and trickling water, it will also attract wildlife to your garden.

If you have the room create a quiet place in your garden to contemplate and relax.


Grow strongly fragranced flowers such as roses, honeysuckles, lavender, sweet peas, stocks and lilies plant them around seating areas, leave space between the different varieties so that you can appreciate their individual fragrances.


The leaves of many plants can be just as fragrant as the flowers, herbs are the obvious choice and edible too, (Sage, Basil, Thyme, Rosemary, Lemon Balm, Mint) position them along paths so that they will release their smell when you brush against them.


There are many different varieties of mint, grow a few around the garden they are all delicious: Apple Mint, Chocolate Mint, Ginger Mint, Peppermint, Pineapple Mint as well as the traditional garden mint, grow them in containers as they can be quite invasive.

The Curry plant is just that a plant that smells of curry, although it may not be to everyone’s liking.

A favourite with children is the Chocolate Cosmos which really does smell of chocolate.


Soft leaved plants are irresistible, stunning Pussy willows in spring and Lambs Ears that produces a carpet of long fluffy leaves.

Cineraria 2

Grow hard textured plants such as the Houseleek that has stiff, thick, waxy leaves.

Grasses offer long thin leaves and hairy seed heads.

A water feature is very important you can dip your hands or feet into its soothing cool water.


Bark, gravel, pebbles, brick and stone can be used as landscaping materials all have completely different textures.


Taste includes all food plants; vegetables, herbs, fruits and edible flowers you really are spoilt for choice.

Johns Red Apple plot

Children’s favourites are the ones that can be picked and eaten straight away such as peas, tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, plums and apples, try growing them amongst your flowers for an interesting and attractive mix.

Autumn Raspberries


Gardens often look at their best in Summer, to get the most from your garden include plants and features that will give interest throughout the year.


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