The benefits of gardening for the psychophysical well-being of those who practice it are known and confirmed by studies and research. But there is another question that the new volume published by Kendra Wilson, gardener and author of texts on gardens, wants to answer: how to organize the garden and its plants to improve sensory perception and get the most out of the benefits?
The author collects ideas and advice in "The garden of the senses - When the garden calms the mind and awakens the soul" (Lswr Editions). For each of the five senses she explains how to organize spaces, which plants, flowers and trees to choose.
"The effects on the well-being of our mind are also undoubted - underlines the author - and with this volume I help the reader to pay more attention to his own garden, accompanying him towards choices that will lead him to appreciate the little things".
Here are some previews
The sense of touch
“By touching the plants, you will learn about the texture of the garden. You will understand its shape, structure and movement” explains the author.
Touch is a sense that in some cases can also involve the feet: "satisfy them by bringing them outside, it doesn't matter if the ground is hard or soft"
Two plants for touch:
Bramble with white stem - Rubus cockburnianus
What a strange idea: a purely “decorative” bramble. Yet, this bramble, with its white stem, is one of a kind. Behind its ghostly pallor is a red undercoat that goes well with the fiery stems of Cornus sanguinea (dogwood) which when pruned glows red and amber.
Heart of Mary – Dicentra
Hanging and arching on arching stems, the flowers of Dicentra formosa (formosa means "beautiful") tickle, and the leaves seem lacy like those of the fern. They are woodland plants that need shelter and good drainage.
“If you have long-lived fruit trees and herbs, you don't need to do much except enjoy their flavors. Some plants need to be pruned, some don't. Still others require no planning and you can grow them by letting them do almost everything on their own.”
Two plants for the taste:
Raspberry Rubus idaeus
The raspberries that ripen in autumn have a strong flavor throughout the summer, it is not necessary to cover them with a net (birds are of little interest) and are therefore perfect for eating while walking. Try the yellow ones if you want more sweetness and a different color. Pick them after a meal and eat them right away to keep them fresh.
Sorrel Rumex acetosa
In Northern Italy it is called "pan e vino" because the thick leaf that is eaten during the pruning of the olive trees has a thirst-quenching and satiating power. Its taste is intriguing: first bitter, then sour.
The young leaves can be added to the salad while the older ones are cooked like spinach.
The sense of smell
“Smells can distract us from what we are doing, take us back to precious moments and places in our lives, or create new memories; no other sense can do that,” recalls Wilson. Breathing deeply through the door or window is a good habit, so "modifying" the smells of the garden can make this daily gesture pleasant for us.
Two plants for smell:
There are many options but choosing is difficult: is a shrub or English rose better, or a climbing one? The choice is yours. Covering an arbor with this fragrant hiker requires little pruning, and its unruly tangle of flowers will form an enclosure that smells good.
If you place a lovely lonicera in the hedge, it will make it look less tidy but lovely. The Dutch and American variants have a divine scent, suitable for the evening; the Lonicera periclymenum "Graham Thomas'", white and yellow, is very solid.