Many cannot resist the urge to touch plants as they walk through a garden. Despite their better judgement many just have to feel exactly how sharp that cactus’ spike is. Many also enjoy running the leaf of a fern through their hand, combing a grass with their fingers or just feeling the soft, almost spongy, leaves of a sage or lavender.

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For plants with more definite shapes, rigid to the touch, try including the rosette-forming succulent Sempervivum tectorum (Houseleek).

For velvet, fluffy leaves, try the Stachys byzantina (lamb’s ears). Grow scented geraniums; this will get people feeling the soft leaves and getting their noses filled with a whole variety of scents.

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Grow a Quercus sobur (cork oak) for its soft spongy bark; or, if one has a lot of space, grow a Sequioadendron giganteum (Wellingtonia) and impress visitors as you punch the tree with all your might, unaffected, and then smile smugly as you reveal how you have deceived them all.

When planning for which plants to add for touch, visit garden centres and the gardens of your friends and see which you would like to include and what is available locally.

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Yes, there is definitely ‘more than meets the eye’ with regard to the plant kingdom. We were designed with wonderful senses so that we can enjoy a wide range of smells, sights, sounds, tastes and textures. Make the most of these wonderful gifts! Design your garden with all five senses in mind.


An eccentric, plant-obsessed nutter!