Sonja Wright is professionally employed to serve Tazewell, Mason, Peoria and Fulton Counties. Recently, she turned her attention toward home.

Wright, the University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener serving Fulton, Mason, Peoria, and Tazewell Counties, created a sensory garden in her hometown of Bryant, Ill. 

Through the sensory garden project and other involvements, Sonja quickly completed her 60 Extension Master Gardener volunteer hours that moved her from intern to official Extension Master Gardener, according to a news release.

Now, a new program called Core Horticulture Education is being offered for anyone interested in learning more about a wide variety of horticulture topics, for personal or professional enrichment. 

Core Horticulture Education will take place on Tuesdays from Sept. 17 through Oct. 29, 2019.

Classes are held in venues around the four-county unit, primarily in Peoria and Pekin. Each day begins at 9 a.m. and concludes at 3:30 p.m.

The course is the first step for anyone interested in progressing to the Extension Master Gardener program, according to the release. For more information contact Ian Goslin, Extension horticulture program coordinator at, or visit the website at

As an active member of the community, and as a village trustee, Wright was aware several community members live with various types of physical and learning disabilities and, according to the news release, the sensory garden is of special value to them and their families. 

Additionally, the garden has already attracted visitors from outside Bryant, said the release.

Created years ago, the garden features a design inspired by the area’s agricultural life. Wishing to honor the original garden and connect with the traditions it represents, Wright developed a plan that added five long raised beds — one for each of the senses — designed in a circular fashion around the existing garden. She further planned for a thick, soft mulch path between the existing garden at the core and the sensory garden around it, said the release.

Lamb’s Ear and parsley are but two of the dozens of plants that are present in the garden.