These propositions are inspired by Gaming the Garden, a walk by the SensoriuM in the garden of the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA), in which participants learned about the history of the site through its plants.
You can try some of these propositions in any place to learn more about it:
1) Working in partners, one person is blindfolded, and the other acts as a guide, to keep the blindfolded person safe. Start with the trees. See how many different varieties you can distinguish through TOUCH.
2) Now open your eyes. See how many more plants you can identify visually. Which is easier, identification through TOUCH or SIGHT? Why?
3) Choose one plant and draw it (preferably using an extra fine Sharpie). Botanical illustration — careful observation of plants through trained looking and drawing, has been a longstanding way of knowing vegetation. The naturalists John James Audubon and Charles Darwin are two of its most famous proponents.
4) Berries and other fruit have long been used all over the world to make pigment for dyes and painting. We used cooked and raw crushed Vibernum berries from bushes in the Garden, but you can experiment with any berry. Try mashing it with or without a bit of water, and add some colour to the botanical drawing you made!
5) If any of the fruit you found is edible, TASTE it! This is one of the oldest ways of getting to know plants and places!
For documentation of Gaming the Garden see: http://www.lesensorium.com/2013/05/gaming-garden.html