Author: Hazel Southam, 29 November 2022
A private garden in the Lot Valley in southern France is set to open as a Psalm 23-inspired prayer garden next year.
Owners Julia and Mark Broughton were inspired by Sarah Eberle’s Psalm 23 Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
‘We saw the video on how to create a garden and it was wonderful and inspiring,’ said Julia.
Psalm 23 had become very important to the couple when one of their children was suffering from mental illness.
‘We walked the hills and recited it every day,’ said Julia. ‘So we learned it by heart. It covers everything, all your needs. It’s the definitive psalm for people trying to find God’s presence.
‘It eased us all through a very difficult time. It deepened our faith.
‘God’s gift to us in that situation was the steadying of Psalm 23. It spoke of God’s faithfulness. He doesn’t give us the happy-ever-afters, but his faithfulness is there and Psalm 23 is a confirmation of that.
‘We really hope that people will encounter God in the Psalm 23 garden,’ she said.
The garden already had a labyrinth, which depicts ‘walking in the right paths’, a stone slab to serve as ‘the table in the sight of my enemies’, and woodland to take on the role of ‘the valley of the shadow of death’.
Now, the couple are adding a stream to symbolise ‘still waters’ and a broken urn out of which the stream will start, to depict the ‘cup overflowing’.
‘I’m feeling very excited about it,’ said Julia. ‘We believe that the physicality of being outside does so much for your soul. People meet God in different ways, and I would meet him outside. I hope that other people can too.’