Create a sensory garden at home

One of the families that received one of our community garden growing kits is setting up a sensorial garden for their son. We asked our Grow Dundee Facebook group for ideas or advice for them (Huge thank you to you all, too many to name!). Here are most of these ideas, laid out as a mini-guide in case you would like to set up a little sensory garden yourself.

What is a sensory garden? Its a garden that aims to maximise the positive impact a garden has on people who are encouraged to touch, smell, smell, listen, observe their surroundings. It is a safe space to feel better and

How to design? The sensory garden design can be adapted depending on the main users, people in wheelchairs, small children, older people needing stable surfaces, people needing quiet spaces, etc. Access and having social and quiet areas are essential to make it a good experience for users. Having your plants at a variety of heights can make the space more interesting and provide different feelings (ie trees for protection, ground plants to explore and harvest, bushes or climbers to touch without having to bend down…)

What to plant?

For TASTE: strawberries, borage (cucumber taste), peas (unbeatable plus the joy of getting them out of their pod), mizuna (tastes of soup to me!), gooseberry (very tart!), nasturtium flowers (beautiful annual climbers with a peppery taste), chamomile (for a relaxing tea)

Ruari at work in his garden

For SIGHT: colourful cabbages and lettuces, sculptural kale and artichoke, flowering climbing beans, brightly coloured flowers like poppies or marigolds but also more relaxing pastel coloured ones like roses, forget-me-nots. Also very large or long leaved plants like grasses, garlic, pumpkins, etc add visual interest and unusual patterns on leaves or shapes like clover, golden sage, walking onions, etc

For TOUCH: long grass or grain plants (grow a chickpea, they are lovely!) to run your fingers through, fennel, allium flowers, lambs ear, dandelions, pine cones, curly kale or parsley, a squishy tomato or berry, different types of seeds you can collect (nigella, fennel, poppy, peas, beans, etc.)

For SMELL: Some of our visitors don’t enjoy touching the plants so make sure you have some that smell without touching or crushing like honeysuckle, lilac, mock orange or the curry plant. Sweet pea, blackcurrant (rub the branches!) and blackcurrant sage, rhubarb, jasmine, scented geranium, elderflower, scented narcissi for spring, roses, mint (many many different smells!), rosemary, lavender, eucalyptus, basil, Nemesia “Wisley-Vanilla”, thyme, lemon verbena, lemon balm, Cosmos atrosanguineus (smells of chocolate and looks pretty says Erin), roman chamomile (smells of appley bubblegum according to Shonagh!), etc. Tomato, feverfew, lovage or pineapple weed have a distinctive smell (love or hate like marmite!)

For SOUND: larger bushes or trees like pines or birches, bamboo, honesty (has beautiful moon-like pods for added interest), long grass and flowers that attract some buzzing bumblebees and berries for chirping birds!

For more information here are some links we found online and recommended by the group:

Sensory garden ideas

Plants for a Sensory Garden

Fragant flowers

Some photos of the plants mentioned above:

May growing kit success!

We have been overwhelmed after receiving 130 requests for one of our free growing kits in just 24 hours! See here some happy growers faces from our last spring kits!

We are hoping to encourage local families to grow their own fruit and vegetable, to be more creative in their garden or windowsill and spending time together.

This has been our third growing kit during the COVID lockdown and there will be another one in June. This is the list of what was included and links to the activities in case you want to try these at home.

Beetroot, calendula and flowering bean seeds with little tray and pots, compost and labels with instructions
rawberry plant, ready to flower and fruit!
Thyme plant to spice up your dishes
Raspberry cane to plant in your favourite garden or park
– Garden
origami kit
– Spring
wreath kit with herbs from our garden
Design activity from the V&A outreach team
– Healthy and yummy
flapjack recipe & ingredients
“Cooking with Maxwell” booklet
Fresh fruit (apple, satsumas, bananas and strawberries)

We are encouraging families to join the GROW DUNDEE Facebook group and follow to connect with over 400 people in Dundee who are beginners or experienced growers so they can access information, ideas and ask questions about growing fruit, veg and herbs at home.

We are always happy to share seeds with people who may want them, seedlings and pots etc to the best of our ability and resources! Get in touch through the Maxwell Centre Facebook page or call 01382 802628.

Some QUOTES from families…

Thank u! Wow this box is amazing!!!!!!! Those strawberries..,Can’t wait to start stuff with my girls tomorrow, thank you again x


Thank you for the growing kit can’t wait to get in garden tomorrow and start planting


Thank you again for the growing kit, the kids love it and it will give them a responsibility in looking after them

Ann Marie


Develop your creativity: do some origami!

The Japanese word “origami”means : to fold (ori) and kami (paper). Origami helps develop hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and mental concentration. You will find 4 instructions: the tulip and the ladybug (level 1), the frog and the bird (level 2).

If you have some thread/ wire, you can hang them and make your animals fly! Send us some pictures of your artwork! If you want your origami to be displayed, send them at The Maxwell Centre Carnegie St, Dundee DD3 7EW and we will find a perfect spot for them!

All the origami have been made by Leo. Thanks you!

A tulip amongst the flowers


Giant ladybug flying over the chive


The bird meeting is friends


The frog enjoying the pond


Let’s make some flapjacks!

Making flapjack is an easy way to empty your cupboard and discover new flavours! For the dried fruits we have used apricots but you can try with sultanas, cranberries…


  • 40g butter
  • 150g maple or agave syrup/honey
  • 1 ripe banana mashed
  • 125 g rolled oats
  • 90 g chopped dried fruits
  • 40 g mixed seeds (poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, …)


  • Heat oven to 180C
  • Tip the oats, the dried fruit and the seeds into a large bowl.
  • Heat the butter, honey or maple syrup in a small pan until melted.
  • Add the mixture and the mashed banana to the bowl and mix all together.
  • Add baking parchment or kitchen foil to a tray and spread your mixture (between 1cm and 2 cm high, level the surface)
  • Bake for 10 minutes
  • Remove from the oven and pre-cut the squares. Careful it is hot!
  • Bake for an extra 10 minutes. 
  • Leave to cool.
  • Place in the fridge for few hours.
  • They will keep for up to 3 days.


How to make butterfly feeders!

🦋 Butterflies are great pollinators and they are so gorgeous to watch!

You can help the butterfly conservation by counting them.

This video will show you how to make 2 types of butterfly feeders:

  • A flower O’26”
  • A plate 1’28”

Remember, use anything you have in your house! Recycling is the best!

🌼 To make a flower you will need:

  • Cardboard
  • Pen
  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Tape
  • Lid
  • Straw
  • Water (10/10)
  • Sugar (1/10)
  • Paper or cotton wool


Step 1: Draw a flower

Step 2: Cut it out and colouring in if you want to!

Step 3: Place the lid in the middle and stick it!

Step 4: With some tape, stick a straw at the back of the flower to make a stem

Step 5: Mix the water and the sugar and soak the paper in it. Place the paper in the lid and it’s ready!

🍊 To make a plate

  • Foil pie plate
  • String
  • Fruits
  • Scissors

Step 1: With a scissors make 2 holes, one on each side of the plate

Step 2: Cut some string and put it through each hole.

Step 3: Add some fruits and choose a nice spot.

We hope you will have fun making those butterfly feeders!

Tuesday harvest box

Harvest Tuesday boxes from our Maxwell Centre community garden ready to go!!!!😁🌈
💚Mixed green leaves for soup (spinach, rocket, lettuce) with added onion and potato from Turriffs
💚Lettuce for salad and spring onion and rocket flowers for dressing
💚Coriander grown from seed in a pot
💚Spinach, lettuce and onion greens in a pot!
💚Fresh herbs (sage and thyme)

And some instructions on how to use these, see below…

Thank you for ordering a bag today!

This week, your “Harvest Tuesday” bag contains:

– Lettuce

– Spring onion

– Rocket

– Sage and thyme

– Spinach

– Potatoes and onion

– Edible flowers (rocket)

– Seedlings (coriander, lettuces, spring onion and spinach)

This veg box is perfect if you fancy a fresh salad!

Mix the rocket, spinach and lettuce. Add chopped onions to your dressing and drizzle it with rocket flowers. They have a peppery flavour!

Some leaves are too tough for you? No problem!

You can make a lovely green soup using rocket, spinach, onion and potatoes.

For more flavour, you can add thyme or sage to your soup.

Recipe for 2 bowls


50 g rocket 

50 g fresh spinach

40g unsalted butter

1 small potato

1/2 medium onion

450 ml chicken or veggie stock  


1. In a large saucepan add the butter. Allow to melt on a low heat.

2. Add the spinach and rocket and cook until wilted.

3. Add the onion and potato. Cook for 3-4 minutes until onions soften.

4. Add the stock and turn up the heat to medium to medium-high, until simmering. Cook until potatoes are fork tender.

5. Allow the mixture to cool a bit

6. Pour the soup into a blender or use a liquidizer to puree the soup.  

7. Pour the soup back into the saucepan and warm back up over a low heat before serving.

8.  Serve immediately.  Serve with cream, creme fraiche and/or crusty bread.

Fancy eating leaves differently? Rocket pesto is for you!



50g pine nuts

100g rocket

50g parmesan (or nutritional yeast)

150ml olive oil

1 garlic clove


Add everything in a blender, blen and it’s ready. Add salt/pepper if needed. Keep in the fridge.

Keeping your herbs for later ?

If you use it fresh, wash the herbs with clear water. Keep them in the fridge or in a jar with water.

If you want to dry them, your boiler room will be a good place. You can hang them up to the ceiling or leave them on a plate. Wait a few days before using. Keep them in a sealed jar.

Remember to wash your vegetables before eating them.

We have launched a new blog You will find resources about gardening, cooking, DIY and more. Have a look!

The Maxwell Centre Team

We have tried Dandelion honey for you!

It is the perfect time of the year to forage dandelions. They are everywhere and contain many benefits for your health including Vitamin C and antioxidants. it’s an amazing substitute if you are plant based or if you want to include more wild flowers to your diet.

When going foraging, try to go on a warn and sunny day so the flowers are wide open!

Spots to avoid:

  • Busy road
  • Sprayed field
  • Path used by dog walker

Dandelion is 100% edible. For this recipe, we will use only the flower heads or petals (it’s up to you). Remove the stalk before starting your honey.


  • 75g flower heard or petal of dandelion
  • 300g sugar
  • 350ml cold water
  • 2 slices lemon


Step 1: Shake the flowers to remove any bugs and take off the petals (optional)

Step2: In a sauce pan, add water, lemon and dandelion. Leave it to infuse overnight.

Step 3: The following day, use a muslin cloth or a strainer to extract all the juice!

Step 4: Weigh the juice and add the same about of sugar (in our case, 300g of juice, 300g of sugar). Add juice and sugar in a saucepan, stir until the sugar disappears. Bring to boil for 15-20 min to thicken it up.

Step 5: Pour your honey in a clean jar while still warm.

Online, you will find many recipes, have a look:

When going foraging make sure you are following the official guidelines regarding the Covid-19 and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (it is unlawful to uproot any wild plant without permission from the landowner or occupier).

Making a bee and funny labels – DIY

Our windowsill and garden are full with green shoots and sunlight! For this activity, nothing fancy is needed! Just anything you are not using : plastic packaging, can, stones, pine cones, broken spoons… Be creative, recycle and have fun!

For the bee, I have used:

  • 1 can (body)
  • Acrylic paint *
  • 2 lids (eyes)
  • 1 black pen
  • Plastic packaging (wings)
  • Scissors
  • Glue gun
  • String (if you want to make it fly!)
  • *My bee won’t be waterproof as I didn’t have enough paint. If it’s the same for you, keep it inside when it’s raining.


  • Step 1: Clean and dry your can
  • Step 2: Paint the strips on the can and eyes in the lids.
  • Step3 : Let dry and paint another coat (at least 2)
  • Step 4: Glue eyes and wings. Draw a lovely smile on your bee!
  • Step 5(optional): add some string if you want your bee to flyyyyyyyyyyy! Find a sunny spot and a name for your new garden buddy!

For the labels, use everything you find in your house (stones, packaging, …). You can:

  • Draw the veg/fruit on the stone
  • Draw funny faces
  • Write the name!
  • Use the shape of the spoon to draw your veg

Share your creations, your ideas and have fun!

Free garden harvest for everyone!

👨‍🌾 HARVEST TUESDAY has arrived! 👩‍🌾

Fancy some vegetables, fruits and herbs grown in the garden? Perfect! We are making bags for you to take home.

The bag contains salad mix leaves, rhubarb, leeks, herbs, edible flowers. (Let us know if you want to remove anything.)

🥬🌼Collection on Tuesdays🌼🥬

Contact us by message, at to order a bag.

❗ First come, first served & subject to availability❗