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A Romp Through the Senses: The Unconventional Guide to Crafting Gardens That Tickle, Tease, and Please

January 21, 2024

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When it comes to designing a garden, some folks might think it's all about shoving a few petunias into the ground and calling it Monet. But let me tell you, there's a whole sensory smorgasbord out there waiting to be unleashed, turning your backyard into a veritable carnival for the senses. It's not just about making the neighbors jealous (though, admittedly, that's a delightful bonus), it's about crafting an experience that's as rich and layered as a triple-decker cake at a Weight Watchers meeting.

Sight: A Kaleidoscope of Color Without the Hangover
  • Play with Colors: Think of your garden as a canvas, but instead of paint, you're using flowers that bloom in a riot of colors. Imagine the surprise of discovering a splash of vibrant blues and fiery reds amidst a sea of green. It's like stumbling upon a speakeasy in Prohibition-era America—unexpected and thoroughly enchanting.

  • Structure and Form: Incorporate a mix of heights, shapes, and textures. Tall, wispy grasses can sway like a tipsy aunt at a wedding, while succulents stand stoic, like that one uncle who refuses to dance.

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Sound: The Orchestra You Never Knew You Conducted

  • Whispering Leaves: Plant trees and bushes that rustle in the wind, creating a sound reminiscent of gossiping at a family reunion. It's subtle, yet unmistakably present.

  • The Water Feature: A small fountain or a babbling brook can provide a soothing backdrop, much like the sound of a distant vacuum cleaner that reassures you someone else is cleaning the house for a change.

Smell: An Olfactory Odyssey

  • Fragrant Flowers: Intersperse your garden with aromatic herbs and flowers. The sudden waft of lavender can transport you faster than a budget airline, minus the legroom issues.

  • Seasonal Scents: Plan for sequential blooming so that your garden tells a story through its scents, from the fresh zest of spring to the earthy musk of autumn. It's like a perfume that changes notes as you wear it, except you don't have to worry about where it's been sprayed.

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Touch: Textures That Make You Want to Stay a While

  • Leaves of Every Texture: From the velvety caress of lamb's ear to the rough bark of a tree, gardens are a tactile wonderland. It's the equivalent of wearing silk pajamas to bed—unnecessary, but oh-so delightful.

  • Interactive Elements: Include plants that invite touch, like snapdragons (for the child in all of us who enjoys making them "talk") or the delicate fronds of ferns that beckon for a gentle stroke.

Taste: The Forbidden Fruit, Except It's Not Forbidden

  • Edible Plants: Incorporate a variety of herbs, vegetables, and fruit trees. It's like having a grocery store in your backyard, but everything is free and you don't have to pretend to like the cashier.

  • Seasonal Surprises: Plant crops that mature at different times, ensuring there's always something to nibble on. It's the garden equivalent of a tasting menu where each dish is a surprise, and you don't have to tip the chef.

Embarking on this sensory journey through your garden isn't just about planting a few seeds and hoping for the best. It's about creating a living, breathing tapestry that engages every sense. It's a place where every visit can be a new adventure, filled with unexpected delights and discoveries. And perhaps, in the end, it's a reminder that the most beautiful things in life are not just seen, but felt, heard, tasted, and smelled. So, grab your gardening gloves (or don't, if you're into that tactile soil experience), and let's turn that patch of dirt into a sensory extravaganza. Just remember, if the neighbors start peeking over the fence, it's not because they're nosy; they're just wishing their garden was as fabulous as yours.

~Michele Jaillet

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