EUGENE, Ore. — Touch, taste, sight, hearing and smell–those five senses are coming to life at Pearl Buck’s Sensory Garden, and now plans are under way to make the new garden sustainable.
Pearl Buck started planning the garden two and a half years ago. It became reality thanks to donations and helping hands. In June, more than 24 volunteers with Cascade Presbyterian Church laid the foundation. They put in the paths, irrigation and bark. The plants were all donated by local nurseries. Eventually, the grapes and blueberries will fill the front fence. In the back, you’ll find fruit trees. The garden is slowly taking shape.
John is legally blind, but with a little guidance, he enjoys the simply pleasure of watering.
“It’s a place for them to come out and feel and touch and taste and be involved in their own community,” said Dena Amend, Pearl Buck Developmental Director. “Many in LEAP program came from institutions so they didn’t have this exposure, so this is a treat for them.” LEAP, the Life Enrichment Activities Program, offers adults with developmental disabilities opportunities to explore a variety of activities such as arts and crafts, reading, music, and adaptive gardening.
Amend says some people in the program paint rocks to decorate the garden. Others go to the garden to practice reading.
“You can tell by their interaction with nature it’s very therapeutic,” Amend said.
The sensory garden is about to grow. Sitting in the center of the garden is a new greenhouse paid for by a $22,000 grant from Weyerhaeuser. It will soon sustain the garden.
“It also allows us more space to grow a product that will support a staff person that will run the whole sensory garden and production area,” Amend said.
Pearl Buck will reveal what product it will grow come fall. Chances are it will stimulate the senses.
Pearl Buck is currently accepting applications for the part-time garden manager position.