Enhancing the Sense of Sound in the Sensory Garden

We have many opportunities to add or enhance the sense of sound to our gardens by the sound of the plants themselves, by the sound of the wildlife the garden attracts, and by the sound of other fixtures and hardscaping that we can add to our own private sensory garden. As we have mentioned before, any garden can be a sensory garden, all we have to do is concentrate on the sense we want to use at any given time, and often times, there it is!

Sounds of plants

I’m from the midwest, and can swear corn is so strong a grower that you can hear it growing in a large corn field. Others will explain that what we hear is the plant pushing against its neighbors and bending in the wind. But it’s really cool whatever is causing the sounds.

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Pampas Grass makes a nice rustle in the wind

Wind through grasses is also an especially soothing sound and I am told bamboo also has its peculiar sound rustling in the garden. Be careful to plant either of these in pots in your garden (even planting the pots) because either can be invasive.
Any tree has its own sound when the wind blows through its leaves, but the most famous of these is the quaking aspen, a beautiful white barked species that can be grown in the northern tier of states.

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Yellow wood tree has a distinctive sound in the breeze

A great fall garden sound is the rattle of seeds in a drying pods, like: Angel’s Trumpet (Datura), moonflower (Ipomoea alba), iris, and broom and false indigo (Baptisia australis).
Sounds of wildlife
The sounds of birds and bees in the garden are wonderful to the ear. There are many plants that attract them in great numbers, some so obvious that they are named for their attractiveness.

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Bee Balm (monarda)

Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii), and Bee Balm (monarda) are two that come to mind. Also attracting birds and bees are Beauty Bush (Kolkwitzia), Ponytail Palm (Nolina recurvata), Bugbane (Cimicifuga racemosa) or Goat’s Beard (Aruncus dioicus).

Frogs, toads, crickets are all sounds that remind me of summer. Even if your garden doesn’t host these critters, their sounds can be “borrowed” (heard from a great distance) from their hiding and nesting places, and be heard in your back yard on a summer’s night or day.

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Swallowtails on cone flowers

Sounds of garden features
We have wind chimes hanging from several trees in the back yard and their music in a slight breeze is almost transporting.
A burbling fountain masks the other noise around us and is especially useful in an urban environment.
Even the type of mulch you use in the garden can produce crunching noise from gravels, as contrasted to the sound of crunching in leave mulch, another lovely sound, especially in fall when it might be quite thick.

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Crunchy sound of gravel in the paths

Other posts on enhancing your sensory garden are on the sense of touch, the sense of sight, and the sense of smell.

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4 thoughts on “Enhancing the Sense of Sound in the Sensory Garden”

  1. A garden that engages our senses is special. I have been working in the area of sight and smell, I have not given enough thought to the sounds of a garden. I need to give that some thought and explore it to take advantage of this really good garden tip.

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