Growing food in your garden makes sense of course (and can certainly save cents, or rather, dollars, at the supermarket), but there are lots of other ways to enjoy your garden’s potential while also providing a sensually-pleasing environment. Think not just about what makes sense, but what stimulates your five senses. Here are some ideas:
Taste: What tastes good makes perfect sense to grow, of course. With that in mind, think about what are your family’s favorite foods and consider checking out some additional varieties of them. Love broccoli? Why not compare Broccoli Romanesco and Broccoli Raab Rapini this fall? Can’t get enough salad? Why not explore the differences between Black Seeded Simpson and Speckles? Didn’t even know there were other varieties than what you find at the supermarket? You’re in for some taste sensations!
See: Not only is it fun to grow purple carrots and a rainbow of jewel-toned beets, but having a garden gives you many more opportunities to create visual beauty and interest. This fall, consider adding some interesting trellises for your peas to climb, fall flowers in a variety of shapes and colors, and bird feeders that attract beautifully-colored birds that you find yourself sitting and watching out the window throughout your morning coffee.
Touch: Incorporating the full-range of sensory integration elements helps everyone, but especially those with special needs, feel “in touch” with your garden, so consider adding some especially interesting-to-touch plants and features. There’s really nothing softer than the plant commonly called lamb’s ear, and running a finger under cascading water in a small water feature is a pleasure not to be missed.
Smell: Mention smells in the garden and my mind goes immediately to herbs. Fall favorites include the black-jelly-bean fragrance of French tarragon; those friends of poultry, eggs, potatoes, and even a caramelized onion and diced sweet potato or butternut squash pizza–lemon thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano, lovage, and dill; cut-and-toss-on-salads staples such as lemon balm and cilantro; and tea standards mint and chamomile. The mere act of going outside and cutting these herbs will have an aromatherapy effect on you. Oh, and let’s not overlook the sweet and welcome smell of fresh compost!
Hear: By creating a diverse ecosystem in your garden, you attract a wide range of wildlife, which, of course, results in a beautiful natural symphony of birds singing, bees buzzing, and butterflies flapping wings as gentle as a breeze on the first day the unyielding summer heat breaks here in metro Atlanta. The rhythmic trickle of a Japanese bamboo water feature can sooth your soul. And, of course, the sound of children laughing through your open kitchen window as they play in your welcoming garden can lift your spirits. Consider adding child-friendly features for exploring, sitting, and digging to encourage outside play.
Swing by the Farmer D Organics store on Briarcliff Road in metro-Atlanta or visit online and give yourself a treat for the senses while seeing what makes sense for your garden. And be sure to consider adding sensory pleasures to your community garden as well, as that is one of the tips suggested by Farmer D in his Patch article yesterday about creating a welcoming haven.