Getting the nation creating community gardens using the world’s most famous Bible verses – that is the intention of Bible Society’s garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2020.   

The Psalm 23 Garden, designed 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.  

‘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.’ 

After the Show, it is hoped that communities, churches and schools across the country will be inspired to create their own Psalm 23-based gardens in all kinds of places: church grounds, community plots, disused plots of land, unused school outdoor areas.  

You only need four elements from Sarah Eberle’s design to achieve this: water, meadow, a tree and somewhere to sit.  

It is hoped that churches will be among those who work with keen gardeners from their local communities to create shared, beautiful spaces in churchyards. 

An estimated two-thirds of the Church of England’s 16,000 churches have churchyards, which collectively cover the area of a small national park. Churches in many other denominations have spaces they can use as well.  

According to Christian Research, 65 per cent of churches have grounds that could be used for gardening. One in four of churches surveyed said that they were keen to use their outdoor space, but needed advice about what to do.  

Videos and downloadable resources showing how to create your own garden featuring Fran Clifton, Head Gardener at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, and videos of churches that have developed their grounds, are available from the website.  

‘Anyone who gardens knows that it increases your sense of wellbeing,’ says Hazel Southam, spokeswoman for Bible Society. ‘But gardening together on a shared project is particularly special.  

‘Any community – whether they have a faith or not – can take this beautiful Psalm and create a garden based on it. The Psalm offers something to reflect on as we journey through life. The gardens that people create will be individual, unique to their setting, whether in a school, community land, allotments or in a church yard. We’re really excited to see what beautiful spaces people create over the coming years.’  

After the Show, the Psalm 23 Garden will find a new home at Winchester Hospice in Hampshire, which is set to open during 2020.  

This story was published on Monday 16 March.