News & Events

Here’s wishing for a sensory garden

September 14, 2020

There’s one element missing at Emerge’s new refuge and that is a sensory garden, according to Executive Officer Paula Westhead.

“We need an outside place where mums can sit quietly, children play in nature, a place which is inviting and calming.”

Paula is calling for donations to turn a space into a garden filled with herbs, edible flowers, and grasses.

“We know how gardens can reduce stress levels and lead to feelings of hopefulness. These positive emotions are important to those who have suffered trauma or who are in a difficult emotional space,” Paula said.

A rough plan has been drawn up and includes play spaces where children can create their own magic as well as tucked away seats for women to sit quietly by themselves or with their children. Central to the plan is the use of scented and textured plants like rosemary, lambs’ ear and lavender. There are also different tactile surfaces to sense when walking in bare feet or touching with hands.

The idea of therapeutic gardens goes back to the days of pioneer nurse Florence Nightingale, who recognised the importance of nature and greenery for recovering patients.

“It’s not a new phenomenon and it remains as important as ever,” Paula said.

She says that a sensory garden can be therapeutic in many ways and throughout the year. It’s possible to be active, play with the kids, maintain the plants, pick flowers, listen to the birds chirping, and the bees humming.


Supporters wishing to contribute to the sensory garden in any way – from assistance with landscaping, donations for plants of all sizes, seating – should contact the office on

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