Introducing the Sensory Gardens
For Taste, we have Nasturtium Jewel Blend that is colorful and edible, and Red Russian Kale, a tender and beautiful heirloom.
For Touch, we have planted the Tickled Pink Sensitive Plant ornamental that will close when touched by children (or adults, who also cannot resist them), Bunny tail grass heirloom that will delight you when you touch the fuzzy, fun flower heads, and Tall Maximum Blend heirloom snapdragons that make exceptional cutting flowers, as well as delighting you by pressing the sides of the flower to “open the dragon’s mouth”.
For Sight, we have Penstemon Dazzler Blend, a wonderful dwarf blend of soft rose, pink, blue and purple hues, an heirloom Come & Cut Again Zinnia with vibrant colors that attracts butterflies in search of sweet summer nectar, Pacific Beauty Calendula Pot marigold that is edible and pollinator-attracting, and Profusion Zinnias. We have also placed a bird bath in this area, hoping to gain sight of the birds as well as the sound of their song.
For Smell, we have planted Nicotiana that will grow to about 5’ tall and is topped with 3-4” trumpet-shaped white blossoms at its crown. The Nicotiana flowers open in the evening and release a pleasant, sweet fragrance, Genovese Basil that is a classic Italian Variety prized by Cooks, Lemon & Tangerine marigold that have brilliant masses of dainty flowers on compact, fragrant plants with lacy foliage, Lemon Basil that allows you to breathe in the lemony aroma, and Four O’clocks. We have placed a circular picnic bench in this area, to invite you to sit down for a while and enjoy the scents that surround you.
For Sound, we have bamboo wind chimes, surrounded by Miss Jekyll Blend Love in a Mist heirloom with delightful flowers that float atop a mist of lacy foliage, and the Honesty Money Plant that is an old-fashioned garden favorite. The unusual seed pods of the Money Plant shimmer like silvery, translucent “coins”.
On the entryway Arbors into the Sensory Garden, we have planted Cardinal Climbers for the Hummingbirds. The vigorous bright cardinal-red flowers grow on vines that will climb 10-15’ tall. This should provide a beautiful, shaded entry way for you.
On the paths, we have planted coleus to guide you on your way thru the garden.
We have placed colorfully designed with a sensory image flags in each area of the garden to designate the specific section that you are visiting.
We hope you enjoy your visit and invite your friends to come along “next time”. The Teaching and Display Gardens are located on Orchard Lane, north of Highway 70 in Spooner WI.
The Sensory Garden is part of the North Country Master Gardener designs made possible by a grant from the Wisconsin Master Gardener Association.
What’s Eating My Parsley?
I’m usually frustrated when I find that something has eaten a plant in my garden. Not so this week when I discovered Parsleyworms on my parsley. Adults are known as Black Swallowtail, one of our larger butterflies.
According to Jeffrey Glassberg’s Butterflies of North America, you can recognize a swallowtail when you see a large butterfly that is not orange and has a tail. His book goes on to say that most butterflies are small to medium-sized and most large non-swallowtails are orange-colored with no tails.
Back to the Parsleyworms. As you can see in the above photo, they are munching away on my parsley. They have pretty much eaten most of the curly-leafed variety leaving the flat-leafed Italian variety for a later snack. There are currently about five caterpillars on my one curly and one flat-leafed parsleys. Not much left for me, but they appear to be in the final stage of their development given the coloration so I may get some later. Next up they will crawl away to a support of a limb or post and pupate to later become a butterfly.
That’s when they will hopefully find plenty of nectar in my nearby garden from zinnias, lilies, calendula, bachelor buttons and other annuals. It might be that my parsley will have recovered enough for a second generation to be fed.
Check out this UW Extension Horticulture article on Black swallowtail, Papilio polyxenes.
Author & Photo: Sue Reinardy, UW Extension Master Gardener Volunteer
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