Sense the Garden

Download PDF

A garden delights all of the senses. And this is the reason that even the most beautiful pictures can only capture a tiny bit of the magic of the outdoors. The flowers may be brightly colored, but it is their soft scent that completes them.

De La Mina verbena (Verbena lilacina ‘De La Mina’) has a sweet, delectable aroma.

The rustling leaves, chirping birds and buzzing insects add a layer of sound, and a soft breeze tickles the skin. One cannot help but pet the velvety leaves of a mallow, or cautiously probe the sharp edge of a yucca leaf.

Indian mallow (Abutilon palmeri) with velvety leaves and apricot colored flowered (left) and chaparral yucca (Yucca whipplei) blades on a backdrop of the San Gabriel Mountains (right).

The spicy smell of sage and the powerful taste of a tiny red strawberry delight the palette. Even bending down to pull a couple of weeds delivers a healthy, earthy smell from the damp soil.

Nature and the outdoors also provide the basis for our aesthetic principles. So often, while hiking in the woods, I have marveled at a perfect arrangement of plants and rocks, wishing I could transport it into my own garden.

California fuchsia (Epilobium canum) nestled in the rocks shows off its bright red flowers against the harsh gray rocks.

The rich reddish-brown of a manzantia’s bark in contrast with its gray-green leaves can be the new fashion colors of the year.

Manzanita (Arctostaphylos) with cinnamon colored bark, gray-green leaves and light pink flowers.

The sweet, delicate scent of a wild rose is more than a match for the most expensive perfumes.

Wild rose (Rosa californica) flower begins to bloom.

And of course nature is the source of all food and drink. But think about a delicate mint tea enjoyed next to a mountain lake under a clear sky.

Thousand Lakes Wilderness in the Sierras.

My garden is a feeble attempt at bringing some of the beauty of the wild home. I hike in parks and open space to see how these plants grow in the wild and I try to bring a bit of the spirit of nature to my garden.

A long trailing annual (Abronia villosa) crawls beneath an upright bulb (Hesperocallis undulata) creating a lovely pink and cream floral bouquet.

9 thoughts on “Sense the Garden

  1. Those pictures, those plants are fantastic to look at, especially this time of year. I loved the sculptural shape of the manzanita. Beautiful.

  2. I so agree! That&#39;s one frustrating thing about blogging: we can only share what we see, and with some effort what we hear. The fragrance, the touch, the temperature, moisture, dryness, it&#39;s all left behind.<br /><br />But the pictures do say a lot…

  3. OG – I must say I miss the snow a wee bit, having spent most of my life in colder climes. Can&#39;t imagine dealing with the all that snow now!<br /><br />TM – Thanks for the comment. Loved your morning views on your blog. Looks like paradise.

  4. lostlandscape (James)

    Maybe your post will encourage people to think of a garden as something more to view from inside the house? Maybe it should be a space they should engage with all their senses? I&#39;ve been gathering stuff for a post on tactile gardening. The sense of touch is one of the stepchilded garden senses as far as I&#39;m concerned. It sounds like you&#39;re one of those out there, testing the tips of

  5. Hi James. Well I hope people can start to interact with gardens using all of their senses. When I was a girl I had a friend who was blind. We went to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden where there was a display for blind people. In addition to braille signage, the plants were selected for scent, touch and sound. I guess it made an impression on me.

  6. Barbara,<br />Goodness I lost your blog from my blog roll. I changed my entire layout and lost your blog. It is back and now I can read your articles after you write them. <br /><br />The Manzanita is a beautiful photo. I&#39;ll have to read what I have missed. <br />Hope your holidays went well!

  7. Randy – glad to have you back. I cannot believe the pictures on your blog. What a winter!!!! Stay warm.

  8. Greetings Barbara E!<br />I&#39;m pretty amazed to see your wild spirit. I&#39;m head over heels in love with your pictures, they make me feel as if I were in the middle of nature. I bet your garden is gorgeous.

  9. Anonymous


Comments are closed.