Sensory garden at Leighton Moss

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We decided to take a lovely bank holiday trip to one of my favourite places today? I’ve loved Leighton Moss since I was little so I always enjoy a visit, and I’d urge you all to visit it as soon as possible! Tempt unwilling friends and family with the promise of amazing tiffin – the cafe does delicious food.

The reserve is large with a number of hides and is home to some charismatic species, including the bittern, bearded tit and even otter. We really enjoyed walking around the sensory garden today and I noticed a few things to incorporate in my own backyard, so I thought I’d document them here. Having a sensory garden is something I’m aiming for, particularly as I’m planning to sit outside a lot this summer (if possible!) and want to enjoy my space as much as possible.

cornflower

The Five Senses…

Sight – The sensory garden had lots to see, and in one way that’s the easiest sense to cater to! Leighton Moss have done it right with a range of beautiful plants and herbs of various colours and form in bloom – including the gorgeous Perennial Cornflower pictured above and the pink rose below. Many of the herbs were flowering too, especially the mint which was full of purple pink flowers which bees were going mad for. Of course because of the flowers there were lots of insects to look at too; there were a number of damselflies gracefully alighting on leaves, hoverflies and plenty of busy bees collecting pollen. There were some plants yet to flower so I expect that the sensory garden has been set up so it is in flower for most of the year, which is something to aim for – particularly as you are helping bees by providing food sources all year around. There was also a massive bug hotel delightfully called Bugingham Palace! Here’s a damselfly on a furry sage leaf.

damselfly

Taste – Taste was well catered for too, as lots of the flowers were herbs, which can be used raw or cooked. It’s my plan to create a vertical herb garden using a trellis made from wood my dad has salvaged. Plus the advantage of herbs is that bees love ’em!

vertical herb garden

Hear – At Leighton Moss you can hear a lot more sounds than in the average garden, specifically ducks quacking and the slightly obnoxious calls of black-headed gulls. However, we can replicate the buzz of bees and tweetings of garden birds of course! Another way to add sounds to your garden is to plant noisy plants e.g. bamboo, which makes a relaxing swooshing noise in the wind, or install a pond with a trickling fountain! Ponds are brilliant for wildlife too, perhaps I will post about that one time as I aim to create a very, very small pond in my very small back yard!

Feel – This might sound tenuous but the plants were all different textures, which you can stop and appreciate. One herb that adds a lovely texture to touch is sage with its furry, rabbit-ear-like leaves! There’s silky rose petals, furry bees (although I didn’t touch them!) but just make sure not to touch nettles!

Smell – At Leighton Moss the sensory garden smelt amazing! As well as rubbing the variety of herbs between your fingers, scent also came from the flowering plants, in particular these roses which had an intoxicating smell, which always reminds me of Turkish Delight.

rose

Have you any ideas of how to create a sensory garden that I haven’t mentioned? I’m looking for more ideas for my yard, so please comment below if you do!

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