Five Senses Garden History

The Five Senses Garden located at Phoenix High School is celebrating 50 years of engaging the senses with garden areas for sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell. The garden is located at 1411 Oakland Drive in Kalamazoo and is open the general public.

The garden idea began in 1965 and was completed in 1969. The garden was one of the first designed to engage the developmentally disabled and won a special citation from the American Association of School Administrators in 1970 and was included in the 1969 report of the President’s Commission on Mental Health.

In 2000, Dr. E. Dennis Lynne, Sandy Howe, Bob O'Boyle, and Fran Barth began the process of revitalizing the garden. DeVisser Landscape, Deary’s Landscape Services, DeYoung Landscape Services, Forget-Me-Not Landscape Artists and other members of the Kalamazoo Valley Landscape and Nursery Association (KVLNA) provided support of removing old and unwanted plant material, including trees and shrubs. Employees of Western Michigan University’s Landscape Services department have been involved from the beginning of the rejuvenation of the garden and continue to do much of the heavier work.

Today, a Five Senses Board oversees the garden and members of the Kalamazoo Master Gardeners Association continue to maintain the gardens.


Dr Lyne

The New 5 Senses Sign Main entrance to the 5 Senses Garden Plaque providing the history and contributors to the garden Welcome to the Garden Original 5 Senses Garden Sign Hear - Marker in the Hearing Garden Sight - Marker in the sight garden Taste - Marker in the taste garden Touch - Marker in the touch garden Garden plaques with quotes Smell - Marker in the smell garden Praire View Home for the bees provided by Kalamazoo College Rainbow Garden Sand River and Sculpture Garden Sculpture Arbor at the entrance to the Taste Garden Shady Garden Garden behind sound garden wall Garden entering the sound garden Flowers on the Arbor Smell garden walkway Footprints in center of sound garden Gong bell in sound garden Sound Garden Back view of 5 Senses Garden Flowers in bloom in taste garden Taste garden entrance Vegetables in bloom in taste garden Trees of the sound garden Visitor in garden Busy bees in taste garden


Donations to the Garden can be made through the Kalamazoo Community Foundation or Kalamazoo Public Schools.