Rachel de Thame visited the Loveday Abbey Road garden, enjoying a tour and the hospitality the tranquil space offers. Rachel was particularly taken by the world-class sensory garden, which has been specially designed for people living with dementia. Rachel believes gardens and gardening are hugely important for everyone, especially those living with dementia, enabling people to stay active and social. She also believes that gardens provide the perfect platform for reminiscence, evoking fond memories of yesteryear. The connection with the outdoors and sensory attributes of scent, touch, taste, sight and sound is also extremely advantageous.
Many considerations need to be made when designing a sensory garden for people living with dementia, such as eliminating any dangerous objects and selecting safe, non-toxic plants.
Below Rachel shares her top plants for a dementia-friendly sensory garden:
- English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) - has an evocative long-lasting scent and the flowers can be cut, dried, and used as potpourri
- An assortment of other herbs - Rosemary, Mint, Sage and Thyme all have a beautiful fragrance plus edible leaves that can be used in cooking
- Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) - an evergreen climber with glossy leaves and starry white flowers, producing heady perfume from late spring to summer
- Lamb’s ear (Stachys Byzantina) - forms a carpet of thick, fluffy leaves, with a woolly texture that feels as soft as a lamb’s ear
- Allium - beautiful late spring flowering bulbs in shades of purple, add colour to the garden and lovely decorative dried seed heads in autumn and winter
- Purple Coneflower (Echinacea Purpurea) - stunning daisy shaped flowers with a distinctive orange cone at the centre, very popular with pollinators
- Chocolate cosmos (Cosmos atrosanguineus) - amazing chocolate scented, deepest burgundy flowers
- Tree fern (Cyatheales) - a striking fern with large textural leaf fronds and a tactile main stem
- Feathertop grass (Pennisetum villosum) - soft flowers in summer that feel lovely to touch, and arching foliage which creates a rustling sound in the breeze
- African Lily (Agapanthus) - large flowering globes in bright blues, mauve and white, that provide summer colour and structure amid surrounding plants
Published: 22nd of May 2023 by Loveday & Co
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