Psalm 23 Garden nears completion

Just two months after the end of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, the Psalm 23 Garden is taking shape at its final home, Winchester Hospice.

‘It’s making a difference already,’ said Mark Jones, Head of Charity at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. ‘The garden is delivering a wow factor to the hospice patients and staff. The interest in it has been immense.

‘It’s going to be a place where patients and their loved ones can come and have some peace and quiet. 

‘We are very proud and honoured to have been chosen to have this garden,’ he added. 

Designer Sarah Eberle redeveloped the garden for the hospice’s courtyard. The biggest change has been removing the pool to guard against Legionnaire’s Disease, replacing it with a closed pool under the waterfall. 

Two majestic multi-stemmed hornbeams and a multi-stemmed hawthorn give height and structure to the garden, and will doubtless draw wildlife life in in time. 

Today, on a crisp, sunny late autumn day, the first visitor was a local cream coloured Siamese cat, who sat in the sun by some of the plants awaiting planting, and gave himself a good wash. 

A short while later, two members of staff from the hospice accompanied a patient out into the garden, explaining how it would develop. I joined them and chatted about the Psalm. ‘It is so peaceful,’ said the patient. ‘Thank you so much.’

It is peaceful. The hospice is built in the grounds of a busy hospital, between a main road and the hospital car park. It was not formerly a peaceful place to be. 

But, the Psalm 23 Garden is already changing that. Cotton grasses, pennywort, sundews, geums, roses and ferns, are already planted, offering the promise of a spring full of colour, restful texture, and a sense of calm. 

‘The plants in the garden help to create the feeling of the psalm,’ said Sarah Eberle. ‘Everything is very soft, texturally. The overall feeling is that the plants could hug you.’

As the garden is painstakingly replanted, the sound of the road diminishes and you become less aware of the neighbouring car park and hospital. A small oasis has been created. 

You can create your own Psalm 23 Garden. Download the easy-to-use resources here.

 


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