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Sensory garden?

(16 Posts)
WisestIsShe Sun 17-Jan-16 21:24:55

I know very little about gardening and would love some help from those in the know. I have a practically empty bed approx 3m square, shady at least half of the day with soil tending to clay.
I'd love to plant it with things that smell good, feel nice etc. Kind of a mini sensory garden. There is a fence along one side which could aid and climbers.

Please suggest what sort of things I can plant. Am thinking of adding a couple of plants each time I pass the garden centre, not a big all at once project.

All suggestions gratefully received.

MidnightVelvetthe4th Sun 17-Jan-16 21:28:50

No good with flowers but I grow herbs every year. How about some lavender for scent and some lemon balm you can pick and eat off the bush smile

WisestIsShe Sun 17-Jan-16 21:42:32

I have a couple of herbs and I love them but I thought they wouldn't grow well without full sun? Very happy to be wrong grin

MidnightVelvetthe4th Sun 17-Jan-16 21:48:12

Bugger missed that bit sorry grin

Mint will grow in part shade but plant it in a pot as it spreads

WisestIsShe Sun 17-Jan-16 21:52:23

Ooh, yes. The children would like mint. Good idea. Does it live all year or die in the winter? (Sorry, I really don't know much about plants)

Allalonenow Sun 17-Jan-16 22:09:18

I agree about lavender, also sage is worth trying, even though clay & partial shade. Honeysuckle and rose might make a good centerpiece. Night scented stock as a border perhaps?
There are many different types of mint to try, also chives seem to thrive anywhere.
What about edible flowers that the children could put in salads, eg nasturtium or sorrel? Or several different types of radish?

WisestIsShe Sun 17-Jan-16 22:25:23

Night scented stock and honeysuckle both sound brilliant, I did have to google them thoughsmile


PurpleWithRed Sun 17-Jan-16 22:33:20

A couple of big grasses would rustle in the wind, which is lovely. Persicaria (look for it in the garden centre) is a magnet for bees which hum in it all day. Ferns are beautiful and many are happy in shade (check labels in garden centre)

Try not to go for one-of-everything though: if it's 3m square could you have a kind of path or stepping stones winding through it cutting it in half so the kids can run through the middle? then have the same-ish plants on each side so it's not too bitsy?

Allalonenow Sun 17-Jan-16 23:31:26

Oh the grassses are a good idea, bamboo also rustles in the wind, though it can spread rapidly, but a couple of large pots would work well.

Allalonenow Sun 17-Jan-16 23:33:05

Also maybe consider wind chimes or wooded blocks that tap together in the wind.

WisestIsShe Mon 18-Jan-16 11:32:34

I'm really liking the path idea. Is it too early to think about buying/planting now? Do I have to wait until the spring?

Allalonenow Mon 18-Jan-16 11:50:03

Just popping back to say that jasmine is a plant with lovely perfume, maybe as a climber on the fence?

Shirkingfromhome Mon 18-Jan-16 12:06:38

There's some really good ideas on this BBC link

Think about the 5 senses:
Touch: Lambs ears are great for touch and contrast with spiky plants or grasses that you can run your hands through.

Sound: Grasses also make a great sound when its breezy or when you ruffle them.

Smell: Curry plants, lavender, mint are all really easy to grow and smell great

Sight: Different heights and colour but you can also add mirrors or windmills (depending on the age you're aiming for).

Taste - Mint, chives, or other herbs.

yankeecandle4 Tue 19-Jan-16 08:32:58

If your children are young then why not have a patch dedicated to mud kitchen sort of thing? They can have free rein to dig it up, pour water, bury leaves etc. My youngest (who is not that young now!) still loves to do this.

Check out pinterest for ideas. Feeling excited for you OP!

WisestIsShe Tue 19-Jan-16 21:34:01

Been to the garden centre today and got two jasmine plant s for next to the fence!

I've been looking at Pinterest too for ideas for a little path down the middle. Thanks for all the suggestions. smile

shovetheholly Wed 20-Jan-16 12:19:05

My advice is to think about all year round cover of scent and texture! Starting with plants that look good in the winter season. You don't want a bare bed from November to March, so think about your structure - the large, anchoring plants that will give you interest when little else does.

Sarococca confusa has the most amazing smell in the winter. It's a bit shaggy the rest of the year, but if you can find a way of putting a mini hedge of it in you will be rewarded in January with one of the nicest smells in gardening. There are also highly fragrant winter honeysuckles - Lonicera × purpusii 'Winter Beauty' is a particular favourite of mine. They have it at Hodsock Priory, and every year when I go to see their snowdrops, I am amazed by how wonderful the smell of the honeysuckle is.

For spring, you're spoiled for choice but personally I think a lilac is an absolute must for fragrance. Rather than the big, shaggy ones, the small-leaved varieties with waxy flowers pack an amazing punch. You can train them in standards (lollipops) too: I have three Syringa pubescens subsp. microphylla 'Superba' planted by a winding path, and the smell is just fabulous. They don't seem to mind the shade either. Lily of the valley also loves the shade and is often out at a similar time. Daphnes are amazingly scented, but I've struggled to get them to grow on clay, and they're an expensive risk - if your soil is like mine, you might be better with one of the scented viburnums.

Plants that bring bees in give you a wonderful sound in the garden - oregano/marjoram does fine in the shade and will bring honey bees in their droves. A special favourite of mine and one I talk about lots is nectaroscordum (aka allium siculum). The flowers are like a firework explosion of bells, and the bees go into them and the sound of their wings gets magnified. They really buzz!

Oh, and for summer climbers, you can get roses that do well on shade (make sure you get a scented one like Sceptr'd Isle or A Shropshire Lad).

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