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The Senses of Summer: A Tactile Experience

"Touch is the first sense to develop in humans and the last to fade away." - Rachel Carson

Welcome to The Senses of Summer: A Tactile Experience, the fourth installment of The Senses of Summer blog series. In this edition, we invite you to indulge in the tactile pleasures that the summer season brings. Prepare to awaken your sense of touch and explore the diverse textures found in the natural world around us.

The Importance of Touch

The sense of touch connects us to the physical world and allows us to experience the wonders of nature firsthand. Engaging with different textures can be both stimulating as well as calming, providing a unique sensory journey.

Exploring Summer's Textures

Take a moment to immerse yourself in the textures of summer. Whether it’s the velvety petals of a flower, the rough texture of tree bark or the soft blades of grass beneath our feet, each texture tells a story. It invites you to connect with nature in a tangible way.

Plants with Intriguing Textures

Summer is undeniably a season of abundance when it comes to plants with interesting textures. Ornamental grasses sway in the breeze, inviting you to run your hands through their silky strands. Fuzzy-leaved plants, like lamb’s ear or sage, provide a velvety touch that is both soothing and captivating.

The Benefits of Engaging with Nature's Textures

Interacting with different plant textures has numerous benefits for our well-being. Touching soft, smooth surfaces can promote relaxation as well as reduce stress, while exploring rough or textured elements can provide sensory stimulation. Engaging with nature’s textures can also foster a deeper connection to the natural world, allowing us to appreciate its intricacies and beauty on a tactile level.

Incorporating Textured Plants

Enhance your sensory experiences by incorporating plants with intriguing textures into your garden or indoor spaces. Create a sensory garden with a mix of smooth, rough, and fuzzy plants, inviting visitors to explore and engage with their tactile qualities. Let your fingertips guide you as you select plants that not only please the eye but also awaken the sense of touch.

Here are a few of Flowerland’s favorite tactile temptations in the landscape:


Dusty Miller (Senecio cineraria) – Soft and velvety, silver-gray leaves offer a soothing and captivating tactile experience in the garden.


Irish Moss (Sagina subulata) – The dense, carpet-like texture of its tiny, emerald-green leaves invites gentle caresses, adding a delightful tactile element.

Lamb’s Ear (Stachys byzantina) – Its large, fuzzy leaves resemble lamb’s ears, making it an irresistible and comforting plant to touch.

Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum spp.) – Delicate and feathery fronds create a graceful touch, evoking a sense of elegance and tranquility.

Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) – Silvery-gray foliage with a subtle fragrance invites a tactile exploration of its airy and soft texture.

Sensitive Fern (Onoclea sensibilis) – The tender fronds are highly responsive to touch, earning its name plus adding an interactive experience to the garden.

Silver Mound Artemisia (Artemisia schmidtiana ‘Silver Mound’) – Silky and finely textured silver leaves bring an enchanting touch to the landscape.

Wooly Thyme (Thymus pseudolanuginosus) – The fuzzy, wool-like foliage releases a delightful fragrance when touched, offering a sensory treat.


Arborvitae (Thuja – Various species, commonly Thuja occidentalis) – Soft and dense foliage provides a touch of privacy and a lush feel to outdoor spaces.

Black Lace Elderberry (Sambucus nigra ‘Eva’) – The finely cut, dark purple leaves create an alluring tactile experience, adding drama to the garden.

Golden Threadleaf False Cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Filifera Aurea’) – Delicate, thread-like golden foliage offers a striking and mesmerizing touch in the landscape.


Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum) – Its distinctive, feathery foliage has a soft and airy texture, providing a unique and tactile element to the garden. 

Clump River Birch Bark (Betula nigra) – The peeling, papery bark of mature river birch trees invites a tactile connection with its unique and natural texture.

Paperbark Maple (Acer griseum) – Cinnamon-colored, exfoliating bark entices touch while also adding visual interest to the landscape.

Ornamental Grass & Turf – The varied textures, from soft and feathery to sleek and dense, create a diverse and engaging tactile experience.

Water Features – Incorporating water elements such as a small flowing stream, fountain, or water wall offers a soothing and refreshing tactile experience, where visitors can dip their hands and feel the water’s flow and texture.

Remember the Importance of Touch and Texture

Finally, let us not forget the importance of touch in our connection to the natural world. Take the time to immerse yourself in the diverse textures that summer offers. Allow your sense of touch to guide your exploration. Engage with nature’s textures, from the softest petals to the roughest bark. Let them inspire a deeper appreciation for the wonders that surround us.

Stay Tuned...

Stay tuned for the next edition of “The Senses of Summer,” where we’ll dive into the savory and sweet treasures that the summer season brings to our garden.

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