How to Design a Sensory Garden Part 3: Sound

by Leah Heiser, Flowerscape Director

This post is the third of a 5-part series to offer suggestions on designing a sensory garden. The flower suggestions here will appeal to the sensory garden design for sound.

Coneflowers attract pollinators.

Sounds found in the garden are from the wildlife that come to pollinate, as they’re attracted to its environment for food and/or shelter.

By choosing indigenous plants, you can be sure that pollinating insects, birds and other critters will seek refuge within your garden. The Ohio Prairie Nursery sells native seeds for a great price.

For additional interest, Douglas W. Tallamy has written a wonderful book called Bringing Nature Home. This book does a wonderful job of explaining which Ohio native trees provide a habitat for local insects and birds. Til then, below are some of my top-of-mind suggestions.

Garden Suggestions to Ensure the Lively Sounds of Wildlife

Bee Balm, Coneflower, Salvia, and Yarrow attract hummingbirds.


Tall Milkweed growing naturally in a Keep Akron Beautiful Adopt-A-Site

Milkweed, typically thought of as a weed, is the host plant to monarch butterflies. Support monarch by leaving Milkweed in your beds and by purchasing different cultivars that are found at your local nursery such as Butterfly Weed, another native Milkweed variety not to be mistaken with the butterfly bush. The butterfly bush is a non-native and only supports pollinators at the end of the life cycle while Milkweed supports monarchs through all of their life stages.

If you want to attract the Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly, add a Spicebush plant to your sensory garden.

Host plants for the tiger swallowtail butterfly include: Tulips trees, Lilacs, Birch, Chokecherry and black cherry trees.

Song birds, like chicadees, robins and finches, will add character to your yard. The Audobon Society suggests including a water source and a song bird border of shrubs along your property’s edge: The Northern Bayberry, native Gray and Red-Oiser dogwood species, Nannyberry Arrowwood, which is a virburnum species, and Winterberry–one of my all-time favorites.

Provide food sources and make sure they are located a fair distance from the main action of the yard so as not to scare off birds.

If you have big picture window, plant a pollinator garden and watch birds and butterflies from the comfort of your home and not disturb the wildlife. Gold finches love Thistle. If you wish to attract them to your yard, I would recommend purchasing Thistle seed or even leaving one or two Thistle in your yard. (Just make sure the Thistle doesn’t get carried away.) Coneflower seed pods feed chicadees in the fall, so if you want to attract these birds, make sure not to cut down Coneflowers in the fall as a typical maintenance would require.

Past posts:
How to Design A Sensory Garden Part 1: Sight
How to Design A Sensory Garden Part 2: Smell

Next Post: How to Design A Sensory Garden Part 4: Taste


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