With life seemingly more fast paced than ever before, it’s important to find ways we can slow things down and ground ourselves, which is exactly where mindfulness comes in. Mindfulness is all about being in the moment and focusing on exactly what’s in front of you. It’s about seeing, touching and smelling the roses rather than just walking past them. And what better option than gardening to offer up some mindfulness mediation? With the senses being so important in helping you fine-tune your mindfulness skills, we thought the perfect way to create a mindful garden would actually be with a sensory garden. And it’s far easier than you might think to create a garden that’s not only beautiful but therapeutic too.
The positives to gardening have no limits. There are loads of emotional benefits as well as physical perks. With more and more studies showing that a strong relationship with nature can help improve mental health by relieving stress and improving mood and well-being, it’s no wonder that more and more people are taking to the garden for a bit of natural meditation. Gardening instinctively draws on all the senses, which is why it’s a great natural therapy for people living with dementia. Read our blog on gardening tips for people with dementia for even more information.
The act of gardening in itself is a great way to adopt mindfulness as the very nature of the activity help you to be in the moment and think about what you’re doing rather than the million and one other things on your mind. And with the right sensory garden design, you can extend the benefits by creating your very own meditation retreat to relax in all year around.
Sensory garden plants
One of the most important things to consider when creating a sensory garden is what plants you’re going to use. With this in mind, we’ve come up with a list of plants that appeal to the different senses. Make sure to mix and match from the sections here and grow a variety of flowers to create a truly absorbing sensory garden.
- Delphiniums – enjoy beautiful spears of colour in your flowerbeds all summer long.
- Marigolds – our Orange Boy variety provide particularly vibrant lasting colour.
- Pansies – try Swiss Giant mixed pansies for beautiful colours that can be used to create a stunning carpet of colour in your borders.
Listening to the sounds of nature around you can be one of the most therapeutic activities imaginable. Encourage the sound of buzzing bees and rustling leaves with these perfect plants:
- Echinacea – bees are attracted to these colourful flowers as they feed on the nectar
- Foxgloves – tubular-shaped flowers like foxgloves, snapdragons and honeysuckle are loved by long-tongued bees.
- Sweetcorn – rustles beautifully in the wind and also tastes great come harvest time.
Getting a variety of different textures in the garden is essential when making your own sensory garden. Look for different textures to maximise the look and feel of your space. If children use the garden, touching the different textures of leaves is a great way of helping them understand the purpose of texture to a plant – for example furry leaves protect against extreme weather conditions, sharp spines can help deter hungry insects and smooth leaves are great at storing water. We love:
- Sage – a fantastic furry texture and of course it smells and tastes great too.
- Aloe – with soft fleshy leaves and spiky edges, it’s great to touch and is also great for relieving sunburn and insect bites naturally.
- Rosemary – the herb of remembrance, this is an essential plant for mindfulness gardening and smells great too.
- Geraniums – a mix of brightly coloured blooms that feel fantastic; perfect for pots and containers.
Having a mixture of different scents and smells in your garden is not just enjoyable for you, it’ll also encourage wildlife into your garden. Here’s a selection that will provide you with some truly beautiful aromas:
- Lavender – the classic scent of a summer garden.
- Sweet peas – a gorgeous flowering climber that gives off a strong, sweet scent.
- Thyme – plant along the edges of paths for maximum effect, or if you’re feeling adventurous, how about sowing a thyme lawn instead of traditional grass for a great drought-resistant alternative.
There are so many delicious plants that are perfect for every garden, from fruit and veg to herbs and spices. Planting veg seeds can be a great cost-effective way to try growing your own and will very quickly turn your garden into a tasty haven.
- Coriander – an excellent choice for pots and containers. It’s a quick grower with many uses.
- Basil – a quick germinator that tastes and smells great.
- Rocket – regular picking keeps rocket coming back for more, and the deliciously peppery taste is perfect for transforming salads.
Sensory garden ideas
Delight your senses even more by using other garden accessories alongside plants to further add to the different textures, sounds and atmosphere in your sensory garden.
You could try:
- Attaching a wind chime to a tree
- Installing a water feature
- Attracting birds with a nesting box or bird feeder
- Using solar lights or outdoor lanterns
And for even more inspiration, shop for all your garden essentials online at wilko.com