Although the common experience of nature and gardens engages all the senses, historical analysis of garden theory shows a clear tendency to reduce green spaces to their imagery and to take the visual arts as the model for garden design. A counter-tendency to this primacy of vision has, however, lately emerged - namely, gardens of the senses or healing gardens, which accentuate also the tactile and olfactory qualities of vegetation and materials. The literature on gardens of the senses provides useful empirical guidelines for garden designers, but on a rather eclectic theoretical basis that applies mainly to private 'jardins de plaisir'. Nevertheless, the accentuation of tactile and olfactory qualities in gardens constitutes a source of well-being, and contributes to a deceleration of life, a positive experience of the natural order and rhythm, and the habitability of a place. Moreover, they are informal laboratories for the education of the senses, and their empirical taxonomies may be integrated into an aesthetic theory of sensory design.
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