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'It's this amazing sanctuary': Garden designed for those with sight loss celebrates 50 years

The Gardens of Enchantment in Sandy aims to awaken all five senses, not just sight.

SANDY, Ore. — A special garden in Sandy is celebrating a milestone anniversary. Volunteers planted the Gardens of Enchantment 50 years ago, hoping guests would enjoy much more than just what they could see.

The half-acre garden is part of the Hull Foundation and Learning Center for Adults with Blindness and Sight Loss. It aims to awaken all five senses—taste, touch, smell, sight and sound. To do that, there are edible plants such as herbs, fragrant flowers, plants with soft and prickly leaves and fountains that bubble.

“It's just this amazing sanctuary,” said executive director Kerith Vance. “I think there are a lot of people who don't realize that we're here and that if they're to have a diagnosis that tells them they're going to be losing their vision, that we're here and we're here to help them.”

On Wednesday, visitors and volunteers celebrated the Garden's 50th anniversary. Mary Lee Turner was among those who strolled its paths, stopping to read the accompanying braille plaques.

“I always have to come down to this garden because it's so full of grace,” said Turner, who lost most of her sight as an infant. "I love it."

The Gardens of Enchantment are maintained solely by volunteers, most of them from local garden clubs. Organizers are always looking for more help. 

Those interested in volunteering can write to Muriel Pagel at MurielCentury21@gmail.com.