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Sanctuary Gardens: Bible Society - The Psalm 23 Garden

Sarah Eberle’s Psalm 23 Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show is set to spearhead a campaign to see the creation of community gardens around the country as we emerge from the pandemic.

Sanctuary Gardens: Bible Society - The Psalm 23 Garden by Sarah Eberle

Sarah Eberle’s Psalm 23 Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show is set to spearhead a campaign to see the creation of community gardens around the country as we emerge from the pandemic.

Sanctuary Gardens: Bible Society - The Psalm 23 Garden by Sarah Eberle

Sarah’s garden at the first-ever September Show is on the theme of Psalm 23 (The Lord is my Shepherd) for international charity Bible Society. It is hoped that it will inspire many to create community gardens on the psalm’s theme as lockdown eases.

Sanctuary Gardens: Bible Society - The Psalm 23 Garden by Sarah Eberle

Bible Society has published an easy-to-use guide on how to create such a community garden and an accompanying video, and there are special resources for schools too.

Sarah said: ‘Creating a community garden gives us an opportunity to overcome the loneliness that we’ve all felt. It will build communities; mental welfare and it enhances the environment. She added: ‘We know that gardening is good for our mental health as well as our physical health. Gardening together helps build communities and friendships. I hope people get fun, health and community spirit from this. ‘Green spaces are so important, particularly in urban settings,’ she said.

Sanctuary Gardens: Bible Society - The Psalm 23 Garden by Sarah Eberle

The well-known biblical text is highly visual, making it perfect for a community garden design. It refers to ‘green pastures’, ‘still waters’, a difficult journey and a homecoming at that journey’s end. So just four elements are needed to create a garden: a tree, wildflower planting, water and seating.

 

Prof Paul Williams, CEO of Bible Society, said: ‘We’ve all spent too long apart over the last year. It would be wonderful to create community gardens together as a positive way of emerging from the pandemic.’ He added, ‘The garden expresses something of the mood and message of one of the best- loved passages in the Bible. So, we hope it’s a reminder and an invitation to go back to something foundational, spiritual and beautiful in our lives. ‘Psalm 23 is all about God’s care and kindness toward us even in very difficult times. It invites us to look to God in the troubles of life.’ 

Sanctuary Gardens: Bible Society - The Psalm 23 Garden by Sarah Eberle

The first Psalm 23-inspired community garden was created during lockdown in Tadley in Hampshire.

‘There was a sense in the community that something was happening,’ said minister of St Mary’s Church, the Revd Gill Sakakini. ‘When we planted it, we could barely see the seeds. But week by week things grew and there was something that people could engage wit when there was very little going on.’ Now, she said, the garden has become ‘a focal point for the community’.

Sanctuary Gardens: Bible Society - The Psalm 23 Garden by Sarah Eberle

Plant list:

Trees

Carpinus betulus
Crataegus monogyna

Shrubs

Acer campestre
Rosa canina
Ulex europaeus
Erica arborea
Sorbus aucuparia 'Beissneri'
Rubus ulmifolius

Rock 

Asplenium scolopendrium
Asplenium trichomanes
Cymbalaria muralis
Blechnum penna-marina

Ground cover & Herbaceous

Ajuga reptans
Dryopteris filix-mas
Polypodium vulgare
Eurybia divaricata
Geranium wlassovianum
Chelone obliqua
Selinum wallichianum
Clematis vitalba
Filipendula ulmaria
Dipsacus fullonum
Scutellaria incana
Anthriscus sylvestris
Gymnocarpium dryopteris
Ligusticum scoticum
Stellaria holostea
Vernonia fasciculata
Erica x darleyensis (any variety)

Meadow and water edge

Cyperus longus
Geum rivale
Sesleria autumnalis
Carex grayi
Carex divulsa
Molinia caerulea
Juncus patens 'Carman's Gray'
Cynosurus cristatus
Festuca ovina
Designed by Sarah Eberle

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