Pictou United Church > Spirit Glen

Spirit Glen ~ A Contemplative Garden

To plant a garden is to believe in tommorrow. ~ Audrey Hepburn


The north lawn of Pictou United Church at the corner of Faulkland and James Streets had always been well maintained, but in 2016 a small group of gardeners within the congregation felt it could serve the congregation and its community far better as a contemplative garden.

Following an inspiring visit to the Church of St. Joseph’s gardens at Kelly’s Cross, P.E.I. and having received suggestions from and the blessing of the congregation, planning began under the guidance of retired Truro landscape architect, Ron Laking, with project priorities established as follows:

  • accessible and welcoming for all
  • multiuse: meditation, worship, entertainment, gardening mentorship
  • sensory engagement through carefully chosen plantings and features
  • environmental stewardship
  • the establishment of living memorials
  • selection of species likely to be long-lived
  • ease of maintenance to ensure the long-term viability

A Garden Story

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.~ John Muir, 19th Century American Naturalist


We would like to begin by acknowledging that we are in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq People. This territory is covered by the “Treaties of Peace and Friendship” which the Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) people first signed with the British Crown in 1725. The treaties did not deal with the surrender of lands and resources but in fact, recognized Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) title and established the rules for what was to be an ongoing relationship between nations.

Trees and Shrubs

Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.~ Warren Buffett

We are indebted to our forbearers in the church who had planted a variety of trees and shrubs, now grown to maturity and offering a vibrant setting for our contemplative garden.

Water Feature

All water is holy water. ~ Rajiv Joseph

Gifted by Ethel Rudolph and family, in memory of Inez, Johnnie, and David Rudolph, our water feature was created by Andrew Marshall of North Shore Ballast & Concrete Works, Pictou from retired grindstones donated by Angie and David Burrell in memory of Fraser Burns, Doug and Sylvia Hayward in loving memory of Ellen & Jack Hayward, Sandy and Ruth Mackay in celebration of their families.

Finger Labyrinth

Be still and know that I am God ~ Psalm 46

The Tree of Life finger labyrinth guides visitors gently into meditation. Mounted atop a pedestal embellished with ancient Celtic medallions, the sculpture of Wallace Quarry sandstone is the creation of stonist Colin Craig of Craig Stone Works, Wolfville, and gifted to the garden by Rev. Mary-Beth Moriarity.

Spirit Glen

The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name.~ Confucius

Distilled from names suggested on our Ponderings Door during the September 2019 dedication service and with a nod to the small, secluded valley that embraces the garden between Faulkland Street and the church, “Spirit Glen” was determined to be the “proper name” for our contemplative garden.

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