Award-winning designer Sarah Eberle has designed a garden based on Psalm 23, entitled The Lord Is My Shepherd, for this year’s Chelsea Flower Show which started today.
The garden, which aims to inspire people to create community gardens based on the psalm as lockdown eases, won the RHS gold medal award for “best sanctuary garden”.
It includes hawthorn and hornbeam trees, stepping stones and water. In an interview with Country Life magazine last month, Eberle said: “To me, Psalm 23 is a parable of life. It’s about the good and the bad through your life experiences and ultimately ending up where you feel more content and at peace.”
The psalm has been quoted regularly at weddings and funerals and also in popular culture including in lyrics from the 2004 song Jesus Walks by the rap artist Kanye West.
Famously, it reads: “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters, He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the path of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”
Prof Paul Williams, chief executive of the 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. Those gardens will unite people and be beautiful sanctuaries for many years to come.”
St Mary’s Church in Tadley, Hampshire has created its own garden in response to the idea. Led by Hazel Southam, a team of three made their own community garden. Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Sunday programme, Reverend Steve McKay said: “For us it’s been a real opportunity to meet members of the community that perhaps wouldn’t have stepped through the doors of a Church. I think people often say there isn’t religion anymore, or people aren’t Christian anymore but actually I think people are deeply spiritual, we’re all searching.”
The garden was originally shown virtually in 2020, after the RHS Chelsea Garden Show was cancelled last year due to Covid-19, and this week will mark the first time the garden can be viewed in person by the public. Tickets can be purchased here.
Sarah Eberle last won the Chelsea Garden Show in 2019 for a piece entitled Resilience Garden, which was created for the Forestry Commission and raised awareness of climate change. She is the festival’s most decorated designer.