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In your garden: June 2019

Use your space to promote a positive mood, says Choice garden expert Eliza Nicholas

Spending time outside surrounded by plants is said to have a positive impact on well-being, and with summer under way there's no better time to enjoy the benefits that our gardens have to offer. 

This month, I'm exploring how we can design or develop a garden to indulge our senses, using plants and materials that help focus awareness and promote a positive mood.

The sight of a beautiful garden can be enough in itself to lift our spirits, but carefully considered shapes and colours can also have a significant impact.

If you're looking to achieve a calming space, then choosing pastel coloured flowers, such as light pink, lilac and white, can create a peaceful effect, especially when used with soft and rounded shapes. 

A colour scheme of bright oranges, yellows and reds can be invigorating and grab our attention, as can plants with bold, spiky or sword-like leaves.

Remember that foliage has a broad palette too, ranging from greens to orange, purple and silver, so there's plenty for us to work with.

Fragrance plays a important role in a garden, with gardeners often cultivating plants for their strong scents. In your own space introducing plants such as lavender, honeysuckle and roses can bring wonderful aromas. 

Growing sweet smelling plants around an arch or walkway can heighten the sensory experience. 

Some of our favourite outdoor smells include cut grass, woody mulch and evergreen trees, as natural scents don't just come from the flowers. 

For the kitchen gardener, an outdoor space often revolves around taste.

Home-grown fruit, vegetables and herbs can transform our daily diets, bringing tastes from varieties that are hard to come by in supermarkets. If you don't have much space for growing edibles then consider introducing a pot of mint for making fresh mint tea, or even flowers you know can be safely eaten on salads or garnishes.

If you take a moment to sit and listen, a garden is full of sounds. Birdsong and the hum of insects can be increased by adding food or pollinator-friendly plants to you garden, which are likely to help to boost bee and butterfly numbers.

Plants such as bamboo and a range of grasses add soft sounds when there's a breeze, and water features provide a gentle trickly or bubbling effect.

Textures and tactile elements help to indulge your sense of touch while outdoors, but are often overlooked. Soft foliage and textured leaves add enjoyable interest, as does creating a pebble or mosaic path.

I love the feeling of springy grass under bare feet or sitting on a smooth stone seat, so I always think about how to incorporate touchable features into the garden.

If you're adding plants and updating your garden, ask yourself how new additions can satisfy your senses, making it more than just a visual feast.

For all of us visiting a garden or just needing some space outside to unwind, it's a good opportunity to enjoy a mindful experience amongst nature, ovserving the sensory details that might previously have gone unoticed.

Want more tips? Share your garden pictures with us

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