Elsie McCarthy Sensory Garden

- Elsie McCarthy Sensory Garden

Located at 7637 N 55th Avenue in Glendale, the Elsie McCarthy Sensory Garden was developed to stimulate the senses of sight, sound, smell and touch. Through the use of specific plants and trees for texture and scent, water features for sound, touch and sight and evening lighting for dramatic visuals, this garden is one of Glendale's proudest locations.


Elsie McCarthy was a long-time Valley resident and an avid gardener. She continued her gardening throughout her life even after she lost her eyesight. Through a bequest in Elsie McCarthy's will, she donated the money for "the purpose of establishing, purchasing, improving, expanding or maintaining a scented and tactile garden for the visually handicapped." Her only requirement was that the garden be dedicated to her father, Robert Henry Bourdon.

The main entry to the sensory garden contains a tactile map, giving the visually impaired a way to feel the individual areas of the garden and understand its layout.

Inspiring ArtSeeing_Beyond

The Story Totem Garden features a sculpture, Seeing Beyond, by artists Joan Baron and Robert Miley. The sculpture is a tile mosaic tiles and has water sprinkling through the middle of it.

The garden reflects all the aspects of a tactile garden for the visually impaired, but is a wonderfully peaceful place for everyone to enjoy.

Soothing Gardens

ElsieMcCartheyGardenThe Celebration Garden features four labyrinth rocks. A unique labyrinth design has been etched into each one of the blocks, allowing for a finger or two to follow the maze through its winding course.

The garden contains five points of interest. The Wisdom Garden, the Celebration Garden, the Contemplation Garden, the Reflection Garden and the Story Totem Garden are all very special areas each with a unique type of water feature.

Flora and Fauna


These are just a few of the trees, shrubs and groundcovers you'll find in the Elsie McCarthy Sensory Garden:

Desert Museum Palo Verde
Catclaw Acacia
Desert Willow
Mexican Bird of Paradise
Texas Mountain Laurel
Gregg Ash
Fan-Tex Ash
Desert Lavender
White-tufted Evening Primrose
Chocolate Flower
Cherry-Red Sage
Desert Marigold
Orange Jubilee
Baja Fairy Duster
Mexican Flame
Hybrid Tea Rose
Red Bird of Paradise
Purple Trailing Lantana
Deer Grass
Purple Prickly-Pear
Native Prickly Pear
Regal Mist