When we think about flowers, most of us contemplate colors or scents. But for Overbrook School for the Blind students Shamirah Brown, 18, and Ashlee Preston, 19, it’s also about texture.
Brown and Preston both say they can see some colors. But when they touch and smell things, they say, they can visualize them better.
“This is super pretty, look, right here,” Brown said, bringing Preston’s hand to a flower. “It’s an orange and a yellow combined.”
“Ah … that is pretty,” Preston said.
They were walking around about 4,000 baby plants in their school’s brand-new horticultural and education center, named in honor of M. Christine Murphy, a school trustee who died in 2011.
Founded in 1832, the Pennsylvania Institution for the Instruction of the Blind was one of the first such schools in the United States. In 1946, it relocated to its current campus in West Philadelphia and was renamed Overbrook School for the Blind. Today, it serves more than 200 students from 5 to 21 years old, and includes classrooms, a gymnasium, bowling alleys, a world-class swimming pool, a museum — and, starting Friday, a greenhouse.