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Singing plants in the Garden of the Senses

An article by Christine Huld recently appeared in "Der Gartenbau" about the "Garden of Senses" of Lowgardens on Grootgroenplus.

Singing plants in the Garden of the Senses

Seeing, smelling, tasting, hearing and feeling - a sensory garden that appeals to all five senses celebrated its premiere at the GrootGroenPlus trade fair in Zundert. It was designed in cooperation with Peter Vanlaerhoven and Pascale Matthijsen, the creative minds at Lowgardens Nurseries, Wernhout (NL). In addition to grasses and ferns, whose structure could be felt, or the beguiling scents of lavender, rosemary and thyme, the gardeners even let some plants sing and thus created a special musical accompaniment. "We have been looking for a long time for a solution to translate the activity of the plants in our sensory garden into sounds," explains Peter Vanlaerhoven.

The developers of the Italian Music of the Plants, Vidracco, brought the solution. A few years ago, they developed a device that uses sensors to convert the electromagnetic activity of the leaf surface and root area of a plant into sounds. According to Vanlaerhoven, the intensity of the tones varies depending on the season. In summer the song is more intense - then the plants are more active. In rest periods, on the other hand, they almost fell silent. «I particularly like the song of the sage and the delphinium. I like the tones of a gorse the least,” Vanlaerhoven smiles. Music of the plants is also a clever way to determine the dormant period and thus the ideal time for transplanting a tree.
"The sensory garden is intended to offer a place of tranquility where the awareness of plants and their diversity is strengthened," explains the gardener. Last year, Lowgardens Nurseries created a sensory garden in the grounds of a nursing home in Rijkevorsel, Belgium. This is intended to give sick and demented residents an incentive to go outside and explore the garden.

Text: Christine Huld, the writing workshop, ornamental plant gardener/journalist, Lostorf
Der Gartenbau 25/2019