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RNIB Invites You To Experience The Senses

RNIB Garden

RNIB's RHS Chelsea Flower Show garden offers a voyage of discovery where visitors feel compelled to take off their shoes, according to designer Paul Hervey-Brookes.

RNIB aims to build awareness and understanding of what it's like to live without sight by providing visitors, no matter what their range of vision, with a greater experience of texture and sound. Hervey-Brookes focuses on using materials that have textural qualities left in as natural a state as possible. The garden provides a space where raw natural components are fused with textural plants to create a stimulating voyage of discovery where visitors feel compelled to take off their shoes and connect with their surroundings on a deeper level.

RNIB Garden

Garden designer Paul Hervey-Brookes said: "We decided from the beginning that the garden wouldn't be a traditional sensory garden, so we've chosen tactility over scent. We've used plants such as the hairy leafed Bergenia which has beautiful leaves and have used a very soft lovely stone on the floor, there are features in cast concrete which are a joy to touch. You wouldn't expect concrete to be quite so tactile!"

"We wanted the garden to be about secret scents that don't immediately reveal themselves. We used Neteta prattii, which has a very unusual fragrance, and Geranium stessert because it has a spicy fragrance that is revealed when you touch it."

After the show, the garden will form a central part of the outdoor space at the recently redeveloped RNIB Pears Centre for Specialist Learning, based in Coventry. The Centre provides individualised care, education and therapies to children with complex needs and sight problems, who inspired the theme of the garden – the experience of the senses.

© Sharon Brown 30th May 2011

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