Surry County Master Gardeners, Parks and Recreation and Lowes Partner for Sensory Garden

The County of Surry’s Cooperative Extension Master Gardener organization, Parks and Recreation Department and Lowes of Elkin have partnered on a unique garden project. The Surry County Master Gardeners Sensory Garden will be constructed on Thursday, December 5 at the Historic Courthouse in Dobson. Construction on the garden will begin at 10 a.m. and conclude at 3 p.m.

The Sensory Garden will provide a destination for enjoyment and learning for adults and youth who need sensory therapy, including individuals who struggle with PTSD, Autism, Alzheimer’s, Dementia and other behavioral disorders, as well as those who have limited mobility. The Sensory Garden is funded by Lowes and is a Lowe’s Heroes Project, which is a volunteer program where Lowes employees strive to make a difference in the community. Materials will cost $1,600 and the estimated labor cost is $1,200. The garden will be wheelchair accessible and feature a paver walkway with lights, musical instruments, textures throughout, arbor and fencing with flowering vines, bedding plants and eye-catching “yart” (yard art).

“Sensory Gardens have become more prominent lately as society tries to incorporate alternate methods of education in helping adults and children with sensory processing disorders,” said Deborah Giep, member of the Surry County Master Gardeners organization and Lowes Live Nursery Specialist. “These can include children with autism, developmental delays and adults with PTSD. The gardens are a place for therapeutic relaxation and sensory stimulation, whether by the fragrance and physical beauty of flowers to the soft sound of chimes or water flowing.

“The sensory garden will consist of elements that will subscribe to five of our senses: Sight, smell, sound, touch and taste. Some of the most prominent elements will be outdoor instruments in bright primary colors, a variety of plants with different textures, colors and aromas and artwork built into the landscape. The garden will be built with a variety of materials: Wood, metal, ceramic and stone. The hardscape will accommodate those with mobility issues, where they will be able to access all aspects of the garden on a solid surface. Future growth of the garden will include outdoor board games and a water feature for a more calming experience.”

In addition to the Sensory Garden, the Surry County Master Gardener Volunteers have begun additional landscaping at the Historic Courthouse.  Their goal is to have educational opportunities for all Surry County residents to learn about planting native species to attract pollinators, as well as planting edibles for sustainability. There will also be a Memorial Garden planted around the War Monuments to commemorate those who have served our country. The Master Gardener Volunteers look forward to growing this project for the enjoyment of all Surry County residents.

“I would like to thank the Surry County Master Gardeners, staff in Surry County Parks and Recreation and Facilities Maintenance and Lowes for their hard work in renovating the Historic Courthouse and landscaping the Courthouse Square,” County Manager Chris Knopf said. “Their work is returning the structure and property to its former glory as a beautiful gathering spot for Surry County residents.”

The North Carolina Master Gardener Program was started in 1979 with well over 4,500 volunteers today statewide. Master Gardener Volunteers must complete a 40-hour training course by a NC Cooperative Extension Agent and an additional 40 hours of internship. Under guidance by NC State University and NC A&T University, volunteers work under the direct supervision of the County Cooperative Extension Specialist. Their mission as educators is to share unbiased, research-based, environmentally sound information. This includes garden and landscaping issues, environmental stewardship, water and energy conservation, green waste reduction, wildlife management and promoting sustainable communities for the health and wellness of children and adults.

Date: December 3, 2019