We are very excited to inform you that NCBI will have a sensory show garden at Bloom 2012. The garden will go above and beyond the usual sensory garden experience and will truly take in all the senses. With different textures underfoot, the sound of running water, tactile plants at hand level and an imaginative use of colour, their design is unique and will have a wide appeal.
The concept of a sensory garden is an old one, however it is in the design and implementation of ours that we hope to improve and evolve this concept. Our hope is that anyone who walks through this garden will have all their senses enlivened by the experience. We plan to use form, colour, sound and even temperature to create a lively and enjoyable space. The main structural features in the garden will be the angled, raised beds and the central apex.
As you enter the garden the brightly-coloured beds will raise up to meet you, filled with the scents of both flower and foliage, waist high to allow people much closer interaction with the planting. The smooth limestone path beneath you will bend acutely around these beds, with a different surface used to denote a change in direction.
The sound of falling water will draw you towards the next area where you will be able to run a hand through the still pool on one side while the gentle splash of water will be heard nearby. The giant leaves of Gunnera Manicata will surround the water, catching stray droplets of water and adding another level of sound.
Through another passage of tactile, prairie-style planting, visitors will find themselves under the central apex, where two steel canopies join together to form a roof. Covering the path, this cool, shaded area will allow visitors to experience the conditions enjoyed by the ferns and mosses planted here.
After another angled bend the garden will open up on one side into a lightly wooded meadow. If they choose to, visitors can walk the path mown into the long grass that will wind around the small hills and fruit trees. Shoes and socks are optional.
Next, a short walk through an area where the plants are mostly edible, here screens of coloured Perspex diffuse light from the sun, casting soft light across the path, which will open into a larger paved area. A chance to sit back amongst both fragrant and vividly coloured plants and relax, just for a minute.
Landscape designers Breffni McGeough and Francis Doyle of Outerscapes have created a sensory garden on behalf of NCBI.
We cannot wait to see the final garden. If you intend to visit Bloom, make sure you drop in to see our sensory show garden, it will be worth the visit.