The Resonating Sounds of Nature ~ Finding Peace and Solace in the Garden

Inspired by nueroacoustic research, this holistic Northwest garden creates a three-dimensional sound environment of primordial sounds found in nature. These “womb sounds” resonate with us at a subconscious level, taking us back to the beginning of our journey. Relax and connect with nature by immersing your senses in the rhythmic sounds of rainwater falling on drums and trickling through the stream, as you bathe in the warmth of the crackling fire. Rejuvenate your spirit, nourish your mind and body, and deepen your breath as you take in the sweet fragrance of white flowers.  A new state of consciousness begins here…

About the Garden

Just as holistic medicine considers the health of the mind, body and soul, this multisensory, holistic garden promotes health and well-being for gardener, the garden, and the larger eco-system in which they all exist. By Living in balance and harmony with nature and our surroundings we gain a sense of inner peace, nourish our spirit and connect with a deeper part of our self.

By incorporating sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch, the garden engages the five senses creating a connection between the brain and the body. The multisensory garden then becomes the bridge that connects the mind and body to the environment, which can be both stimulating and relaxing.

Sight– Color, texture, form, movement, and the contrast between light and shadows stimulate our sense of sight. The layout of the overhead structure, walls, and patio space are proportioned to the Fibonacci Ratio (also known as the golden ratio), an aesthetically pleasing propositions that is found in nature, master works of art, and even the proportions of the human body. The variety of textures and the use of white flowers create a peaceful and soothing feeling, while the shadows from the overhead panels cast shadows from the moon and sunlight.

Sound– The subtle sounds of nature include birds chirping, frogs croaking, leaves rustling, and the sound of rain drops, all of which can have a soothing affect. Our garden highlights the use of sound as a healing therapy. According to Dr. Jeffery Thompson, Director of the Center for Neuroacoustic Research in California, there are a set of sounds  called ‘Primordial sounds’ that we all share the experience of, regardless of our race, sex, religion, language or culture. According to Dr. Thompson, “the symphony of sound patterns we experience in the womb  are deeply embedded in our subconscious mind for the rest of our lives…and  have the power to awaken deep levels of recognition in the subconscious mind”.  These sounds are the heartbeat, the sounds of amniotic fluid, and voices heard from inside the womb.  In our garden these sounds are represented by the drums, water in the stream, and sounds of voices that will be heard as people gather on the patio.

Smell– Certain smells can trigger memories in an instant and have the ability to evoke a powerful emotional response. Incorporating fragrant flowers, plants and herbs can affect our mood and connect us with nature.  We have used a variety of fragrant flowers along with herbs that can be enjoyed in the garden and also indoors.

Taste– Growing food in the garden, whether it be to supplement your food supply, to save money, to avoid pesticides and chemicals, or to have the peace of mind knowing exactly where your food comes from, can be fun and easy. Herbs, plants with medicinal qualities, and blueberries (rich in antioxidants) can be found in our garden and contribute to the health and well-being of the gardener.

Touch– Touch is a powerful sensory experience. The contrast between the smooth surfaces and rough edges of natural stone along with the many different textures of plants encourage the user to want to touch and interact with the garden.

Many elements in the garden are salvaged materials, including the steel backdrop for the fireplace, the steel strapping used on the drums, and what was once a 150’ Doug Fir from Mercer Island that was salvaged and repurposed as our arbor. The LED lights use minimal energy and will last for much longer than traditional lighting.

Plant List

Botanical Name Common Name
Arbutus unedo ‘Compacta’ Compact Strawberry bush
Abies koreana “Cis’ Cis Korean Fir
Acer griseum Paperbark Maple
Athyrium ‘Ghost’ Ghost Fern
Beesia deltophylla Beesia
Blechnam spicant Deer Fern
Carex flagellifera ‘Kiwi’ Weeping Sedge
Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Silver Queen’ Silver Queen Cypress
Chamaecyparis nootkatensis glauca ‘Pendula’ Weeping Blue Alaska Cedar
Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Filiciodes’ Fern Spray Cypress
Darwin Hybrid Tulip Ivory Tulip
Disporum cantoniense “Green Giant’ Chinese Fairy Bells
Double daffodil Erlicheer Erlicheer daffodil
Equisetum hyemale Horsetail
Euonymus fortunei ‘Harlequin’ Harlequin Euonymous
Euphorbia ‘Tiny Tim’ Tiny Tim Euphorbia
Fothergilla major ‘Mount Airy’ Mt. Ary Fothergilla
Hakonechola macra ‘Beni Kaze’ Beni-Kaze Japanese Forrest grass
hakonechola macra ‘Fubuki” Fubuki Japanese Forrest grass
Helleborus x ‘Cinnamon Snow’ Cinnamon Snow Hellebore
Heuchella x ‘Sweet tea’ Sweet tea Coral Bells
Heuchella ‘Brass Lantern’ Brass Lanterns Coral Bells
Heuchera x ‘Apple Crisp’ Apple Crisp Heuchera
Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Snow Queen’ Snow Queen Hydrangea
Itea virginica ‘Little Henry’ Little Henry Sweetspire
Juncus patens ‘Elks Blue’ Elks Blue Rush
Leucothoe fontanesiana ‘Rainbow’ Rainbow Leucothoe
Ligularia dentana Ligularia
Ligularia dentata ‘Britt-Marie Crawford’ Britt-marie Crawford Ligularia
Ligularia dentata ‘Othello’ Othello Ligularia
Microbiota decussata Siberian Cypress
Mukdenia rossii ‘Crimson Fans’  Red-leafed Mukdenia
Nandina domestica ‘Gulf Stream’ Gulf Stream Nandina
Pieris japonica ‘Valley Fire’ Valley Fire Pieris
Pinus strobus ‘Mini Twists’ Mini Twists Eastern White Pine
Pinus strobus ‘Niagra Falls’ Niagra Falls eastern White Pine
Podocarpus  alpinus ‘Blue Gem’ Blue Gem Podocarpus
Podophyllum pleianthum May Apple
Polypodium scoulereii Leatherly Polypody Fern
Polystichum polyblepharum Tassel Fern
Rhododendron ‘Ebony Pearl’ Ebony Pearl Rhododendron
Ruta graveolens Commone Rue
Salvia apiana White Sage
Sarcococca ruscifolia Sweetbox
Sciadopitis verticillata Japanese Umbrella Pine
Thymus vulgaris ‘Silver Posie’ Silver Thyme
Trochodenron arailiodes Wheel Tree
vaccinium corymbosum ‘Reka’ Early Season Blueberry
Vaccinium corymbosum ‘Sunshine Blue’ Mid-season Blueberry


It was a truly amazing experience to create this garden. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all that contributed to creating this garden (in no particular order).  We could not have done it without any of the people mentioned below. It truly was a team effort and one that I will always be grateful for.

Craig Penner, City rain. Craig created our water dispersal system and brilliantly came up with our plan ‘B’. Without him there would have been no water to create our rhythm.

Stefan Grunkemeier, drummer and owner of Simply Rocks. Stefan loaned us the large slab at the entry to our garden and created the rhythm that so many resonated with.

Dr. Jeffery Thompson, founder of the Center for Neuroacoustic Rearch in California. Dr. Thompson allowed us to interview him on the healing properties of primordial “womb sounds”, that that have the ability to change our state of consciousness.

Robert Fairfax, Artist. Robert created our “Earth Code Walls” and the “Flame Pods” (the orange skunk cabbage seed heads). He is an artistic genius and worked so hard, not only on creating the art fort the garden, but in helping us build the garden as well.

Steve Farris, Metal Artist. Steve created our “drums” with steel banding- they were beautiful and truly the centerpiece of our garden.

Barbara Sanderson, Artist.  Barbara is so talented and graciously loaned us our glass fire sculpture.

Tim Court, Advantage Light Source. Tim and Natural Concepts worked together to install the wonderful LED lighting that  gave the garden the softly lit effect that we were looking for.

Don Dawson, Derek and TJ, the Siding Company.  These wood-workings gurus are not only talented but are so wonderful to work with! I would trust them with anything wood! Contact them at 206-595-0576 or

Natural Concepts Landscape Co, Inc. – Jeff, Craig, and especially Rafa and Leo and their team- they have such pride in their work and put so many long hard hours into building our vision!

Kathy & Ella at Wetlands & Woodlands. They generously provided our oodles of plant material for our garden, making it the lush multi-sensory garden that it was.

Northwest Nurseries. They also provided a few key plant specimens that made our garden unique.

Ben and his team at Windmill Gardens.  For forcing our bulbs and other plants into bloom and meticulously delivering them to the show.

John and David from Meyer Wells– They worked with us to custom-mill a huge salvaged Doug Fir to create our beautiful arbor.

Uriah Bueller, Parasoleil. Uriah worked with us last minute to deliver the architectural metal panels that cast the beautiful shadows in our garden.

Stone suppliers, Marenakos, Rock Mountain, and Simply Rocks. They provided literally tons of natural stone for our garden. A Special thanks to Marenakos for all the time they spend providing and setting stone for all the garden creators in the show!

Sawdust Supply Co. Inc. For the yards and yards of sawdust and mulch that provide the foundation for all the gardens.

All the volunteers, including students and alumni from Lake Washington Institute of Technology, fellow designers Leanne Goulding and Laura Kleppe, and client Tammy Quinatar.

And last but not least, Kryssie Maybay whose quick thinking, fast problem-solving skills and steadfast ‘knowing’ that everything would turn out helped to keep me sane and on track. I couldn’t have done this without you!