A well-tended garden is always attractive, but does it provide more than something pretty to look at? Whether yours is a minimalist Zen retreat or a riot of English country perennials, a few select items can turn any garden into a feast for the senses.
Hear your garden
Forget the wind chimes. Natural sounds are less intrusive and more relaxing.
- Water: You don’t have to install an expensive waterfall or pond to enjoy the sound of water. Modern fountains are affordable and often operate on little more than an electric pump. You won’t hear an engine, just the sound of trickling water.
- Birds: Feeding stations will have birds singing your praises, but many love flowers and berries which are easy to grow and will keep them happy.
- Sound of silence: A garden provides its own music. No trees in your area? Fast-growing pampas grass or bamboo provide privacy and gentle whispers.
Smell your garden
Many expensive fragrances mimic the scent of flowers. Create your own perfume counter from the ground up with these aromatic picks:
- At your feet: Walking on woolly thyme, creeping thyme or Corsican mint releases their fragrance. Plant these aromatic carpets on pathways or between flagstones.
- In the middle: Lavender makes a fragrant border while bergamot (the essential oil that gives Earl Grey tea its distinct flavour), releases a scent when brushed against. Peonies, iris and lily-of-the-valley are as fragrant as they are beautiful.
- Overhead: Flowering climbers, such as wisteria and honeysuckle, can dangle over arbours or pergolas, releasing their heady perfume as you walk by. Larger flowering shrubs, like lilac provide a fragrant hedge.
Touch your garden
No one wants to pet a cactus, but some flowers beg to be stroked or explored with the fingertips. Gardeners of all ages want to touch plants that are:
- Fuzzy: Moss and pussy willow are soft to the touch and provide visual texture.
- Feathery: The silky tufts of feather grass help this plant live up to it’s name.
- Papery: Silver pennies, Chinese Lanterns and Globe Amaranth are so delicate and paper-like, they feel more like art projects than plants.
Taste your garden
Not all plants are edible, but these plants are delicious and safe—providing you don’t use chemical herbicides or pesticides.
- Herbs: Easy-to-grow herbs include rosemary, mint, basil, thyme, oregano and chives. Nibble them straight from the garden or bring them into the kitchen to add a fresh boost to soups, salads and meat dishes.
- Edible flowers: Nasturtiums’ peppery flavour makes a spicy and stylish garnish for soups or salads, while delicate roses, violets and pansies can beautify any dessert.
- Fruits and vegetables: No room for a vegetable patch? No worries. All you need are a few pots or a fence. Strawberry planters provide a cascade of berries while sugar-sweet cherry tomatoes grow well in pots. Runner beans can grow over fences providing a crunchy treat after their showy flowers have disappeared.