Salvia Small Talk: Planting a Therapy Garden
Many sages that are pleasantly fragrant also have velvety foliage or other interesting textures -- such as pebbly leaves -- that please the sense of touch. The vibrant colors of their flowers and foliage appeal to yet another sense.
Long connected to healing, the Salvia genus contains many good choices for what some people call healing,therapy or sensory gardens.
Sensory gardens often aid Alzheimer patients in reconnecting with faltering memory. The Therapeutic Landscapes Network notes that memories connected to sense of smell are powerful, because 'the part of our brain responsible for basic memory evolved out of the tissue that makes up the olfactory cortex.' For example, anyone who has spent time hiking the chaparral lands of Southern California is likely to remember the scent of Sacred White Sage (Salvia apiana).
Touching the soft, furry bracts that cup the flowers of a plant such as Midnight Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha 'Midnight') may bring back memories of pets or velvety dress-up clothes from youth. Looking at the multi-colored pastels of Salvia x jamensis species -- a group of hybrids combining Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii) and Mountain Sage (Salvia microphylla) -- can bring back sunrises and sunsets past.
For questions about how Salvias can fit into a sensory garden, please contact us. We have a wealth of varieties and a wealth of good memories about all.
Updated March 19, 2018