Sensory Gardens

The Sensory Garden is one of a series of thematic gardens in the Urrbrae House Historic Precinct Gardens.

Its purpose is to create a special garden that stimulates different senses and is designed to incorporate plants with captivating colours, textures, aromas and tastes. Within this garden are exciting artworks and plantings which provide a tranquil, informative, humorous and stimulating recreational space for everyone, particularly those with disabilities.

Like all gardens, this garden continues to evolve. It is a haven for birds, butterflies and for you! The garden is also a recognised conservation site for Butterfly Conservation SA.

The garden has been cleverly designed so that within the sensory theme there are other themes. Experience the kaleidoscope of colours aromas and textures.

  • PURPLE highlights the jacaranda tree
  • YELLOW and ORANGE are based around citrus trees
  • RED plants attract birds for their song

Expression through art

A panel of ceramic tiles made by people with a disability reflect the challenges and achievements in their own lives as well as reference being made to Peter Waite as an important immigrant and pastoralist. Artists Bryan Tingey and Andrew Noble worked with residents of the Julia Farr centre to create this artwork.

What you will see

The Sensory Garden is enclosed by a stately olive hedge, which lined the original driveway to the coachhouse and screened the kitchen garden. The well to the house still remains.

On certain mornings, the scent of Lemon Myrtle with droplets of dew greets you. Mint thrives with Jasmine, trailing through lattice work in the far end of the garden.

Take time out to see our Thyme
and you won’t forget our Rosemary either.

Be surprised how many different types of Lavender exist! Not even the birds can resist this haven as they tweet and whistle in nearby branches.

You may be fortunate to experience the tranquillity and peace of a passing butterfly in this beautiful setting.

Given the proximity of the Wine Sensory Laboratory the concept of utilising a selection of plants used on the vocabulary of wine tasting is also explored.

The design

The Sensory Garden was designed by Viesturs Cielens in collaboration with Susan Phillips and principle artist, Berenice Carrington. Berenice enjoys working with a variety of media and has wide experience in working with community groups which were a great asset in establishing this garden. Other artists include Bryan Tingey and Andrew Noble.

Community commitment

Community involvement was important when the garden was designed and this continues to be important today. Groups such as the Herb Society of South Australia, along with a range of tertiary institutions and support groups have contributed.

The garden was opened in 1998 and is maintained by a group of hardworking and dedicated volunteers.

The Sensory Garden would not have been made possible without the generous support from the following Sponsors and Supporters:

Herb Society of South Australia
SPARK Disability Foundation
Australian Council for the Arts
Arts SA Art for Public Places

A special thanks also to the Julia Farr Centre, the Herb Society SA and the continuing support from the volunteers.