Blind in Seattle take strolls in a (nearly) secret garden

Sep 16, 2011

At Ethel L. Dupar’s Fragrant Garden a collection of plants is growing for visitors to experience through smell and touch, senses that usually come second to our primarily visual take on plants. The garden is a part of Lighthouse for the Blind, a non-profit serving Seattle’s blind community.

“This garden is kind of a well kept secret, because from the outside you absolutely can’t tell there’s a garden here,” said Helen Weber, Master Gardener at Lighthouse for the Blind. “It’s like a little urban gem, so you really have to know someone to know that it’s here.”

Included in the collection is a weed from the American Southwest that smells like chocolate, the fuzzy, lemon-lime smelling 7-Up plant and others with scents of curry and peanut butter.

“People love it, every time they smell it, they just get happy,” Weber said of the chocolate flower. 

The fragrance garden is primarily used by employees at the Lighthouse for the Blind where, according to CEO Kirk Adams, it adds a natural, “campus-like feel” to the manufacturing company’s site.

“It’s not just coming in a door, making parts and leaving. There’s an opportunity to reconnect with nature just a few steps outside the door,” Adams said.