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“Fragrance and Colour – Gardens become Havens”

Duft und Farbei


Ruth Zacharias:
"Fragrance and Colour –
Gardens become Havens"

Hardcover: 154 pages.

With many colour photos from the Botanical Sensory Garden Radeberg.

Price: 24.90 Euro
ISBN: 978-3-96014-576-9
Publisher: edition winterwork

Available for purchase from
Ruth Zacharias
(info(at)ruth-zacharias-stiftung.de) and in book retailers

The Book Prize Academy of the German Association of Horticulture awarded the book "Fragrance and Colour – Gardens become Havens" by Ruth Zacharias as one of the Top 5 best garden books in the year 2020.

In the last 20 years, the Botanical Sensory Garden in Radeberg was built under the leadership of Ruth Zacharias. She especially discovered the importance of fragrant plants for the garden design. She calls her theory "the harmony of fragrance through the architecture of fragrance", which was implemented in the design of the Botanical Sensory Garden and which contributes to its distinguished profile. The "Society for the Advancement of Garden Culture" awarded Ruth Zacharias with the Alma de l'Aigle Award in 2013 for this achievement. Ruth Zacharias contributes to the advancement and design of public and private gardens with her thoughts on fragrant plants, her suggestions to sensory perception, her experiences with the smelling of pleasant and healing aromas, and her very practical information on the design of smaller and larger gardens. An extensive fragrant plant directory is a helpful resource for everyone who works with this book: Planers and decision-makers in institutions and associations, those working in horticulture and landscaping, therapists and educators, garden lovers in villages and cities. (Jacket blurb)

We would especially like to highlight chapter 9 of the book:
"Gardens for Deafblind People"

After more than 50 years of service among deafblind people, it has always remained clear to me: Deafblindness is the most serious disability for an individual. Frieda le Pla calls it "doubly blind and doubly deaf" and goes on to explain "combined blindness and deafness make double walls of darkness and silence to enclose the deafblind in a prison cell of solitary confinement, impenetrable except through hand-language and Braille." She describes her normal state of life as a "feeling of depression".
Helen Keller speaks of "dark dungeon walls". Although her life was "rich", she always sensed these walls.

When life can only be experienced through three senses and must be mastered by a "close-up" sense, then all who stand in the service of deafblind people are responsible for compensating the missing 80 % sense perception in every imaginable way possible – in order "to bring life" to the deafblind.

• If the right to lead an autonomous life is given by law, it is also applicable to deafblind people.
• If great independence is sought out for each individual, then it is also valid for the deafblind individual.
• If mobility is the normal "elixir" for every individual, then it is also valid for the deafblind individual.
• If the sense of touch and smell are such comprehensive possibilities of perception, then they need to be taught to and trained by deafblind people to be used as vehicles of joy.
• If the fragrance of plants promotes well-being, then it is the deafblind people that have a right to experience them.
• If gardens and plants have been a "wellspring" at all times in the history of mankind, then there is an obligation to also make this "wellspring" accessible to deafblind people.
• If every possible way of mobility and movement are seen today as the foundation of health, then this is also true for deafblind people.
• When deafblind people communicate their experience of nature and gardens – and often cannot communicate it – then this shall be for us their "call of duty".

There is such a garden in Radeberg. Its tried and tested standards and criteria can be applied elsewhere and will have to be further developed in the future.
When Helen Keller testifies to her happiness because she can independently undertake a walk of 400 metres and is surrounded by fragrances, then we have been provided a framework of the "minimum".

As a Conclusion some Quotes from Residents from the Assisted Living Department of the Deafblind Service of the Protestant Church in Germany:

• "Yes, I enjoy walking in the Botanical Sensory Garden because there is a handrail. Thanks to the handrail, I can take walks independently.
• The signs on the handrail are easily found, which help me find my way and discover the description of the plants.
• I love nature; there is something to smell everywhere!
• I sense quiet and rest in the garden.
• Thank you for the garden tour! I learned so much. It is nice to see so much in the garden!
• Recently, I helped with some work in the garden, like cutting off the dried lavender sprigs. It was a lot of fun!"

• "I need some good fresh air in the morning! I walk along the handrail at a very fast speed. It's my daily sport! I walk from 5:30 – 7:00 a.m. Sometimes less."

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