Biblical Garden Theme Or A Meditation Garden


Genesis 2:8  "Then the LORD God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he placed the man he had made."

The Garden of Eden

Jan Brueghel, the Elder ca. 1610 - 1612


Biblical theme gardens feature collections of plants that are named in the Bible.

A Biblical theme includes species of plants mentioned in Jewish and Christian scriptures. Other plants with associations to the themes and subjects of the Bible are sometimes also included, especially in areas with different climates. Some public gardens exhibit objects in order to illustrate Biblical stories or to demonstrate how people lived in Biblical times. I would use St. Francis, St. Fiacre, Buddha and angel statues as a base for my design. I would also concentrate mostly on an Old Testament garden.

Some plants mentioned in the Bible  from "Holman's Bible Dictionary"

The fig is the first plant mentioned in the Bible.

Endive, chicory and dandelion (no problems having some of that) may have been the bitter herbs of  Exodus.

The pomegranate was a symbol embroidered on the robes of  Rabbis

Cedar was used to line the Temple of Solomon and build the Ark of the Covenant

Common Reed

Papyrus grows in shallow water in hot places. Stems were used for rafts and for making baskets and paper, upon which much of the Bible may have been written..

Cattail  reed seems to be the one among which Moses was hidden . Also called bullrush.

Cassia and cinnamon. The ground bark was used in the holy anointing oil for priests and cinnamon was used for perfumery

Calamus used for perfume.

Galbanum is a resin burnt as incense and it was obtained from the stem of a relative of parsley growing on dry hills in Iran.

Henna leaves were crushed and used both as a perfume and as a yellow dye for skin, nails, and hair. It is a subtropical shrub with white flowers.

Hyssop was used for ritual cleansing and the sprinkling of blood in the tabernacle, and is related to mint.

Myrtle is a shrub with fragrant leaves and white flowers. It was especially favored for temporary shelters in the fields at the Feast of Tabernacles

Rue grows on the hills of the Holy Land as a low straggling shrub with pungent smelling leaves.

Spikenard was used as an expensive perfumed oil  obtained either from the leaves of a desert grass.

Bitter herbs for Passover are certain wild plants with sharp-tasting leaves. The desert plant Artemisia was also bitter and depicted sorrow and suffering

Coriander provided both salad leaves and spicy seeds, which were likened by the Israelites to the manna in the desert.

Cumin and dill, like coriander, are members of the parsley family with spicy seeds

Mint was tithed by Jewish leaders

Saffron, a yellow powder prepared from the stigmas, is used as a subtle flavor and also as a food coloring and a medicine.

Frankincense  is a white or colorless resin yielded by several species of Boswellia. The resin is obtained by cutting the branches and collecting the exuding Ďtearsí which are burnt as incense in religious rites or as a personal fumigant. In the Bible, frankincense was prescribed for holy incense mixture. IIt was also brought by the wise men to the infant Jesus, together with gold and myrrh (Matt. 2:11).

Myrr is a reddish resin obtained from a spiny shrub in a similar manner to frankincense. This resin was dissolved in oil and either eaten or used as a medicine and cosmetically.

Balm is a general term for medicinal ointment prepared from resin-bearing plants. The balm of Gilead. Gum was imported with balm by the Ishmaelites. It is extruded from cut roots of Astragalus grown on dry Iranian hillsides.

Some plants, such as the gourd Citrullus colocynthis, could be medicinal purges in very small quantities but bitter poisons otherwise (2 Kings 4:39-40).

Olive Trees are small, rounded orchard trees with narrow gray-green leaves and small cream-colored flowers in May. The bulk of the crop was gathered for olive oil.

Grapevines were  grown either in vineyards or singly as shady bowers around houses and courtyards. Short flower heads grow among the new leaves in early summer, and the numerous tiny flowers develop into a cluster of round sweet grapes which ripen either as green or black fruits. The fruits are eaten fresh as grapes, or dried and stored as raisins. Wine was prepared from the fermented juice.

The common Fig Tree - Fresh figs were favored as first fruits. Figs dry very well and were stored as cakes for future use.
Another kind of fig tree, the sycomore grew in Egypt and in the warmer areas of the Holy Land.

Pomegranate bushes were often grown in gardens and beside houses. Moses was instructed to embroider pomegranate fruits on the hem of the priestsí robes and their form ornamented the columns of Solomonís Temple in Jerusalem.

Date Palm. Jericho was known as the city of palm trees. The wandering Israelites reached Elim where there were seventy palm trees

The most important biblical nut was Almond. Almond nuts were carried to Egypt by Josephís brothers. Aaronís walking stick budded and produced Almonds overnight and proved that Aaron was Godís man to assist Moses. The holy lampstand had cups like Almond flowers.

Several species of Acacia  trees occur in Sinai. Their timber was used for the construction of the tabernacle, the tent of meeting. Acacias are usually flat-topped trees which possess strong thorns.

Oleander is a shrub with long, narrow poisonous evergreen leaves and beautiful pink flowers in summer. Although it may be found in stream beds in dry country, it is also in the marshes and streams such as those of Mount Carmel..

Poplar grew beside water, especially the rivers Euphrates and Jordan.
In biblical times, the hills of the Holy Land were well wooded, while Lebanon was famous for its dense forests.

Cypress- The famous cedar of Lebanon, grew in extensive coniferous forests which are now sadly depleted. The flat-topped trees provided excellent timber which was used for Davidís house and Solomonís Temple.

Sandalwood was imported from Ophir to Judah by Hiramís fleet for Solomon. Used for perfumes and incense.

Oak- The deciduous oak still forms woodland on some hills of Palestine, such as Carmel, Naphtali, and Bashan. Oaks were used to mark graves and for ceremonies.

Pine, especially the Aleppo pine. Its timber was used for construction.

Biblical Herbs for your garden:

Chives and Garlic
Cilantro/Coriander - The Israelites called this food manna meaning, Ďfood from Heavení
Mint - The white flowers of peppermint attract pollinators like bees, and beneficial insects love mint.

A more detailed listing of plants in The Bible can be found here
Plants named in the Old Testament are given with their Hebrew names,
and those mentioned in the New Testament are given with their Greek names.





Read more at Gardening Know How: Biblical Garden Design: Tips For Creating A Biblical Garden