The Sensory Gardens at Saint Brigid of Kildare

This garden consists of an outdoor student space, dining and conversation area, teacher relaxation and sitting area, Mary garden, Japanese-inspired space, sensory garden, and general, unifying landscape.

The outdoor student space has been developed as an outdoor classroom with storyboards mounted on the wall for teacher and student collaboration for lessons. Behind the mosaic in this space is the water source for the entire developed landscape. In it should rest the five picnic tables for student seating.

The dining and conversation area has a table top that serves as a dining counter and might serve as an altar for a small service. The table is composed of black granite, which reflects most of the border colors in the garden.

Various blooming hydrangeas surround the teacher relaxation and sitting area to the far west. The project is infilled with Hostas as a low design element.

The Mary garden, situated at the far end of the walk, is a series of red and pink knockout roses with a border of Walkers Low blue and purple Catmint. Mary stands upon a giant rose cut block of granite. The backdrop of this garden is Ninebark and Butterfly Bushes, which fortify the butterflies on their long journey, drawing in pollinators and other wildlife for observation.

The Japanese inspired space has been designed as a meditative walk. This space has been supplied to quiet the mind and allow a prayerful, life-calming stroll to allow meditation, contemplation and relaxation. The three boulders are the classical representation in Japanese landscapes of mountain, Mount Horai, Sumuru, or a leaping carp, land, and water islands. Horizontal stones represent land or the planets. Rushing rivers are represented in the black gravel surrounding these rocks. The plant located in the foreground is a Japanese Juniper. This area also reflects a Japanese study garden, which is why it contains a lantern.

The Sensory Garden has been designed to include taste, smell, sight, hearing and touch. Taste is represented by the Swiss Chard growing in the foreground, which the students may add to their lunches. Smell is represented by the Lavandula Phenomenal, better known as Lavender, which is a very fragrant plant. Sight is represented by the bright red Japanese maple, which anchors the garden and the complex variety of forms, textures, and colors surrounding itself, as well as the motion of the plants and butterflies brought by the blooms within the garden. The oat grass and other vertical fine leafed plants that create a warm and gentle rustling noise represent hearing. Touch is represented by the Giant Lambs Ears, which invokes the feeling of soft lamb’s wool, or the nose of a kitten.

The garden contains many plants that deer are generally opposed to eating. They include variegated sedge grass, catmlnt, and the strong lineal elements of boxwoods. The garden was designed as an all-season space with a mixture of plants that bloom from early spring till late fall. It was also punctuated with evergreen hollies, boxwoods, taxus, and dwarf buffalo juniper. Color throughout the garden is provided by seven different Hydrangeas, Black Eyed Susan, Butterfly Bush, Catmint, Cranesbill, Geranium, Joe Pye Weed, Knockout Roses, Liriope, Coneflower, Russian Sage, Shasta Daisy, and Coreopsis. The unifying landscape adds beauty for years to come and students of any age are able to appreciate the different colors, textures, forms and creative spaces offered by this landscape.

Please enjoy this outdoor space,
Sheila & John Reiner