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.
The garden has come full circle and is back to its original purpose of engaging the five senses with the wonders of plants and gardening. The garden is maintained by a volunteer board and master gardeners. In July 2018, the garden celebrated 50 years.