And how can we make people with disabilities also benefit from this experience?
Depending on the type of disability, some aspects of the garden become more important than others, however, the keyword to help these people enjoy nature better is accessibility.
Firstly, so that people with motor problems can take advantage of the sensory garden, it is essential to install ramps and handrails, always checking whether the size of the space allows the passage of a wheelchair. Gantry cranes and landmarks provide a more concrete and tactile space reference, offering the visitor a landmark, the possibility of knowing where it is.
After that, it’s time to choose the plants. They should have soft and velvety leaves to stimulate touch, especially for those with visual impairment. Pending flowers are a great invitation for visitors to get closer and smell the aroma of them. Soft leaves reflect the movement of the wind and stimulate our senses. For the visually impaired, with extremely sensitive hearing, these leaves and other plants, as well as fountains and containers with water, can serve as a guide with their sound.
Including plants and flowers that attract birds is also very important. The presence of their singing makes the sensory experience even more enjoyable.
Last but not least, it is important to think that the organization of the space has certain predictability. In the design and layout of the space, imagine yourself with your eyes closed in a garden and try to build a mind map. The more tactile elements there are, the easier it will be to enjoy the experience. This sensory effect, plus predictability, brings control and relaxation to the disabled.
Below is a list of some species of plants that have sensory characteristics: some are aromatic, others are sculptural and some are projected towards the paths, scoring them as textures, colours and aromas.
Trees (always send signs of wind and rain)
- Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globosus, E. citriodora, E. cinerea) – besides bordering great properties indicating strong and high winds, it perfumes the air and provides beautiful nuts and dried fruit.
- Chorao, Argentine willow, pink pepper – they project their leaves in canopy forming a pleasant tactile and soft curtain. They border beautifully the banks of rivers, lakes and fountains. The willow tree attracts birds for its delicious fruits.
- Calabria, acerola, pitanga, jabuticaba, grape, cherry, peach, plum, cashew, dwarf cashew from the savannah
- Jasmine mango (Plumeria Rubra) and Ipês (Tabebuia Alba, T. Rosea, T. heterophile) – form a carpet of fragrant flowers.
- Flamboyants – provides a fairly wide shade, large seeds that look like rattles
- Eritrea mulungu – attracts the maritacas and the flowers are knife-shaped with a very soft petal
- Cow’s paw (Bahuinea purpurea), dwarf grill and caliandra – attract the kisses flowers.
Climbing machines for pergolas
- Jewish Shoe
- Mucuma Bennet
Cascade flower box
- Princess Earring
- Juicy, Crassulaceae (balsam, stone rose, kalanchoe)
- Tuyas (pinheirinho)
- Showers (topiary)
- Ligustro (topiary)
- Clusea fluminensis
- Cyca revoluta – exhales a characteristic aroma
- Heliconia rostrata
Soft or fragrant plants
- Mallow (Lavaterra trimestris, Alcea rosea, Malva silvestris)