Psalm 23 Garden set to return to Chelsea Flower Show

You’ll be able to see the beautiful Psalm 23 Garden at next year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show, following an announcement from the RHS that the Show is going ahead.

The garden, by multi-award-winning designer Sarah Eberle, 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,’ says 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 adds. ‘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.

And it’s hoped that the garden will inspire communities like yours to create your own community gardens, on the theme of Psalm 23.

‘Anyone who gardens knows that it increases your sense of wellbeing. And it’s been such a solace to many of us during the pandemic,’ says 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 hope it will inspire the nation to garden together.

‘The Psalm speaks to our experience of the pandemic, and has something to offer at this difficult time. Creating a garden together allows churches to work with keen gardeners from the local community to make something beautiful for everyone.

‘The gardens that people create will be individual, unique to their setting, whether they are in a church yard, school grounds, community land, or allotments. They’ll enable people to reflect on this wonderful psalm, as well as coming together to create a place that everyone can feel restored. We’re really excited to see what beautiful spaces people create over the coming years.’ 

The first such community garden was created in the small town of Tadley, in Hampshire, during the first lockdown.

‘Lockdown felt like a cruel blow to our plans,’ says the 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 says. ‘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 says, the garden has become ‘a focal point for the community’.

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

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