Garden at Chelsea Flower Show 2021 set to inspire community gardens

    Diocesan News
    17 Nov. 2020

    Getting the nation creating community gardens using the world’s most famous Bible verses – that is the intention of a garden designed by Hampshire-based designer, Sarah Eberle at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021.

    The Psalm 23 Garden created for Bible Society is designed by multi-award-winning designer Sarah Eberle, and brings the famous text of 'The Lord is my Shepherd' to life.

    The well-known biblical text includes references to ‘green pastures’, ‘still waters’ and a homecoming at the end of a journey. Sarah Eberle’s design conveys all of this.

    ‘I want to engage people’s emotions,’ said Sarah about the Psalm 23 Garden. ‘It will stop people in their tracks and make them look.

    ‘The psalm is quite clear in its description of landscape,’ she added. ‘Most people can understand that and get their own interpretation out of it. It’s relevant whether you are a churchgoer or not. That’s nice. It makes you think about it.’

    The garden was intended for the Show in 2020, which was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    After the Show, it is hoped that communities, churches and schools across the country will be inspired to create their own Psalm 23-based gardens.

    The first has already been created during lockdown in the small town of Tadley in Hampshire. ‘Lockdown felt like a cruel blow to our plans,’ said minister of St Mary’s Church, the Revd Gill Sakakini, ‘but it’s been a complete blessing, because it’s given the garden a deeper meaning for the public.’

    That meaning is hope. ‘There was a sense in the community that something was happening,’ she said. ‘When we planted it, we could barely see the seeds. But week by week things grew and there was something that people could engage with when there was very little going on.’ Now, she said, the garden has become ‘a focal point for the community’.

    ‘Anyone who gardens knows that it increases your sense of wellbeing. And it’s been such a solace to many of us during these last months,’ said Hazel Southam, spokeswoman for Bible Society. ‘But gardening together on a shared project is particularly special. So, we’re delighted to be taking the Psalm 23 garden to Chelsea next year, and hopefully inspiring the nation to garden together.

    ‘Any community – whether they have a faith or not – can take this beautiful Psalm and create a garden based on it. The Psalm speaks to our experience of the pandemic, and has something to offer at this difficult time. The gardens that people create will be individual, unique to their setting, whether in a school, community land, allotments or in a church yard. We’re really excited to see what beautiful spaces people create over the coming years.’

    After the Show, the Psalm 23 Garden will find a new home at Winchester Hospice in Hampshire, which is set to open during 2020.

    Maddy Thomson, Clinical Matron of Palliative and End of Life Care at Hampshire Hospitals, said, ‘The garden will represent such a special place for our patients and their families, who can enjoy precious moments together, or find quiet reflection in this beautiful outdoor space.

    ‘We are absolutely delighted that we will be able to offer this as part of the care and support we provide, and know that it will make such a difference to the families being supported by Winchester Hospice.’

    Resources to enable communities and schools to create their own community gardens will be launched in the run-up to the Show in April.