The Senses and Design


We are fortunate when we can enjoy a combination of positive effects on several of our senses at the same time. In the world of design, our senses of sight and touch offer pleasures, but our sense of smell is a likely third; it is oh so satisfying when flowers and greenery produce color, scent and texture all at once.

Bringing the outdoors in is a goal for most of us living in a temperate climate. While I am not a landscaper, I do know what I love to see and smell and Salvia Clevelandi, Winifred Gilman is a favorite for my eyes. I love it in the garden near an open window or door, so I can take in its lovely scent whenever a breeze comes up.

I like to make good use of plants in decor by using the real thing, whenever possible. Even dried plants can give off a pleasant fragrance in dried arrangements, or tied in a bundle and hung in a closet or shower. I like to use eucalyptus branches in these areas as well, especially hung in a shower; the steamy atmosphere helps bring their sweet, fresh scent into the surrounding areas-- for me, truly heaven sent.

Even a particularly lovely piece of furniture that needs protection from water spillage can be enhanced with a dry arrangement of local native or succulents as a centerpiece. One should never water a succulent on a table top; it should always be watered sparingly and on a surface that can be easily wiped up. Once the water has settled in the container, there is no danger of leaching moisture onto the surface of the furniture. An arrangement can sit for quite a long time, and infrequent watering will make a happy situation for both plant and table top.

Lavender is another favorite, both in the garden and in the house. These plants do well in our dry climate and are a favorite to dry and use as a sachet for drawers. Let me mention rosemary as well, which adds another sense, the sense of taste. Rosemary’s flavor adds to many savory dishes. Growing theses plants makes it easy enough to snip off small branches to bring into the house frequently, to add to an arrangement of roses or to use all by themselves. 

One of the great characteristics of these plants is their structure. They offer so many opportunities to display them creatively. They look lovely against a plain wall, or one enjoy the shadows they cast in the evenings. In addition, they bring fragrance to the room and the soul. With their color, scent, texture and taste, they have the makings of a long lasting and beautiful arrangement.