Festival town creates Psalm 23-inspired garden

A stone table, rocks and a meadow are set to form part of a Psalm 23-inspired community garden at St Andrew’s Church in Cheltenham.

The garden, which will be created this year, was inspired by Bible Society’s Psalm 23 Garden at last year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

‘We hope that people who visit the garden will experience the psalm,’ said church elder  Tony Jeans, ‘and that they will find it helpful, particularly if they are going through a difficult period.’

People attending festivals in Cheltenham often visit the church, which lies in the city centre and has a public garden. However, at the moment this is mostly grass and hard paving so it was ready for a re-design, said church elder Carol Drummond.

‘We could see that the idea of Psalm 23 would give us an opportunity to engage the wider community,’ she said. ‘We hope that it will bring people in to share in the garden.’

The church is using designer Sarah Eberle’s design tips which include wildflower planting, seating and a water feature. In the church’s Psalm 23-inspired garden, visitors will be led along a mown pathway through a meadow, to a seat at the far end of the garden, a natural place to stop and reflect.

There will be a small water feature to attract wildlife and reflect the psalm’s ‘still waters’. Native hedging will be planted along the garden's edges, creating height, impact and a haven for birds.

Finally, the St Andrew’s team is adding a stone table to embody the line, ‘you prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies’, and the words of the psalm will be found throughout the garden, enabling visitors to interpret what they are seeing.

‘We are really excited about this,’ said Carol. ‘It’s a really great opportunity. It fits in with our environmental agenda and broadens what we can do in outreach.’