Sacred Gardens Songs of Praise


Sacred Gardens

Bill Turnbull and Claire McCollum are in London in search of sacred gardens, visiting Kew and Westminster Abbey. With hymns inspired by the wonder of God's creation.


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Transcript


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The beauty of creation.

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How often do we stop to marvel at it?

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Well, today, we're doing just that

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as we reach the height of summer...somewhere

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and more of us are spending time in our gardens.

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We've come to Britain's most popular horticultural centre

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to see its connection with God and how that's being celebrated

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with a new attraction.

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And at a time when such attractions are at their busiest,

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I'm here at one of the country's most visited places of worship

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to discover a sacred garden that's been around for hundreds of years

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and find out how gardening and music complement each other.

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We'll also be catching up with The Corrs,

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a Christian family who, this week, face their own gardening challenge.

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As well as hymns and performances from across the UK,

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inspired by and celebrating God's creative powers.

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Welcome to Songs Of Praise.

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Celebrating God's amazing creations is the context of our first hymn,

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originally written for children

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but now universally loved - All Things Bright And Beautiful.

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ALL SING

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WOMEN SING

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ALL SING

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MEN SING

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WOMEN SING

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ALL SING

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Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the jewel in the UK's botanical crown

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and home to 30,000 species of plants and flowers.

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Starting life as a royal garden where botanical experimentation

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took place, it first opened its doors to the public in 1848.

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The gardens are now not only a world heritage site

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but also something of a national treasure,

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with nearly 1.5 million people passing through its gates

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every year, seeing nature at its most beautiful.

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And you might not know that this most famous of gardens

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has its own parish church,

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St Anne's, which, this year, is celebrating its 300th anniversary.

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To mark this milestone,

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Kew has introduced a faith trail which opens later this month.

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So I've got my map and we're off to explore.

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In Kew's Princess Of Wales Conservatory I get my first glimpse

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of what's going to be on the trail.

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The idea was basically to have a look at the plants

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and to see what's the history and the culture that lies behind it

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and how they are kind of significant to the people,

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for the people of different faiths.

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So, what sort of things are talking about here, say, for instance?

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Uh, well, over here we do have the lotus

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which is sacred to the Buddhists and it's also sacred to the Hindus

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and it's considered as a symbol of purity.

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So, Nigel, which plants relate

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to the Christian faith here to you?

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Well, virtually everything you've got here.

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There's about 167 plants identified in the Bible,

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and throughout the Bible

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plants are used for illustration of spiritual truths.

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Even if you don't understand the significance

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of a particular plant, you can learn here.

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And even if you don't follow that faith,

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you can learn a lot about that plant

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and its significance to a particular religion or culture.

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One of the very important points from our point of view

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when we were thinking about this was that virtually everybody

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who comes to Kew, regardless or not of whether they profess a faith,

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come from a faith tradition or faith culture

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and therefore there is a general interest to them.

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And obviously, those who are maybe practising their faith more

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will find a little bit more out about that.

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So, we've seen the lotus here, shall we go and have a look

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at some other things?

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So, this is special here, isn't it? What is this now?

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Yeah, this is very special. This is the frankincense tree.

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It has been used as incense since a very long time.

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Yes, we use it every Sunday at St Anne's

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and I'd never realised this is where it came from.

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What the religious significance of it though?

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It's a sign. It's one of the three gifts

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that the magi brought to the infant Jesus

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and it's used in liturgy to symbolise

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holiness and maybe symbolising prayer ascending to heaven.

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And there's one more plant on the trail

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that father Nigel wants to show me.

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And over here you're going to show us something that's outside

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but that will have significance for a lot of people actually, won't it?

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Indeed. This is the bush that the soldiers would have used

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to plait the crown of thorns which they made to put on Jesus' head

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as to mock him because he claimed to be a king,

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and it's called Christ's-thorn.

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Does nature play a role for you in your personal faith?

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Yes, it does.

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When I rise early and I take the dog out for a walk,

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walking along the riverside,

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calmly immersed with the birds singing,

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watching nature change the seasons, I feel very close to God.

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It really sets me up for the day.

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The Corrs, a Catholic family from Essex.

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Earlier this year they responded to our appeal for a family

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to take part in some of our programmes over the summer.

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The idea is that we set them some challenges

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so that you find out how their Christian faith

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is woven into their lives.

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This week, we wanted to explore the role community plays in their life...

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Good morning.

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..so asked their priest to set them a bit of a green-fingered challenge.

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Now, you know, every time you come to mass,

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you see our rather forlorn-looking memorial garden.

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And we want you to tidy that up for us.

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But because this is the 100th anniversary

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of the beginning of the First World War

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what we've like you to do is to make it a war memorial garden.

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-Can you do that?

-OK, yeah.

-We'll give it a go.

-Excellent.

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"And right from the start, mum, Sam, took charge."

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Let's work in this area first.

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Let Charlotte have a go with the rake.

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And if... Aimee, you hold the bag.

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Why don't you cut it first?

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Go on, get your back into it, girl.

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I thought it was going to be

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quite a good laugh because

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all the family together

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and doing things

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and sort of doing gardening.

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That's it, girls. That's looking really lovely now.

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What did you think about the thought of maybe doing gardening?

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Did it fill you with horror or...?

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Uh, I actually was quite excited about it

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because, you know, as Christians,

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when you do gardening like growing a plant or seed, it's about life.

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-How's the fence going, Martin?

-I just put one in and one fell off.

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I think I'm going to be all day doing this.

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I think Father Gerry's booby-trapped it, you know?

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'Not natural gardeners.

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'They are a little daunted by the task in hand.'

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Is that a weed over there? Are you sure it's not a raspberry plant?

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Anything that looks like a weed probably is a weed.

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-They're raspberries.

-All right.

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I did never promise I was Mrs Titchmarsh.

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I have to say, in all honesty,

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gardening was something that we haven't done much of until recently.

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Mum, can I have some soil, please?

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It's very satisfying work.

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And when you can actually look at a garden in bloom

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it reminds you of the awe and wonders of God's creation.

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"But over an hour later and tensions start to rise

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"about how they're going to best pay tribute

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"to the 100-year anniversary of the Great War."

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Why don't you put it there?

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We're going to put the poppy seeds.

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Oh, well, that would be lovely, wouldn't it?

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No. No. I think...

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Right, get the plants down, then scatter the poppies

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and then you've got kind of a very wild sort of...

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I agree about the wild...

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It did get a bit frustrating at times when, you know,

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you try to do some stuff.

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Excuse me, you can't just go with your own ideas.

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Being part of the community we have to listen to each other, Martin.

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We have to listen to each other and each other's ideas.

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I tell you what would look nice here, the number 100.

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We could do a "1" and then an "0" and then an "0".

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Do you know what I was thinking? Have 1914.

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Yeah, but 1914 is much harder to do than 100.

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I think when you all sort of have your own ideas

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you've got to compromise sometimes,

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which is what I did a little bit but I still got the 100 at the end.

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Yay, we got it, didn't we?

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One, zero, zero.

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-I can't see it.

-You can't see it?

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"With much of the day gone, the Corrs are happy with their hard work."

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I'm sure that once it all blooms it will all look...fabaroony.

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-Hi, father.

-ALL: Hello, father.

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Wow, look at what you've done.

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"And father Gerry arrives to bless the revitalised memorial space."

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Heavenly Father, we give you thanks for the gift of this land,

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for the gift and the beauty of flowers.

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Being part of a community is not what you can take out,

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it's what you can give back.

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Lord, make us always mindful of those who have given their lives

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so that we might be free.

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Eternal rest grant to them, oh, Lord

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and let perpetual light shine upon them.

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May they rest in peace.

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Amen.

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# I look around me as I grow

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# I'd like to tell you all I know

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# I see life with all its energy

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# The city streets, the rush of time

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# This is my world

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# It's where I like to be

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# So much to see

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# So much to find

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# I sometimes sit and wait a while

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# I see the sun It makes me smile

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-# Can you see it?

-Can you see it?

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# Can you see it too?

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-# Can you see it?

-Can you see it?

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# Can you see it too?

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# My world's a silent one but it's enough for me

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# I hear you through your hands The movement sets me free

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# But it would be a special thing

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# To hear your voice To hear you sing

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-# Can you hear me?

-Can you hear me?

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# Can you hear me too?

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-# Can you hear me?

-Can you hear me?

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# Can you hear me too?

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# I look around me as I grow

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# I'd like to tell you all I know

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# Can you hear me? #

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Thousands of people are familiar with this view of Westminster Abbey

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but you might not be familiar with this one, their beautiful gardens.

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Well, there are three spaces around the Abbey.

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One is in the Cloister Garth

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which is central to the Abbey, the old Cloister

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where the monks originally were able to spend time reflecting,

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sitting, chatting, as well as reading.

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It was a reflective sort of space, a social space.

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And then where we are here in the Little Cloister

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is where monks who were unwell used to come and sit and be private.

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I mean, actually kept...not quite in quarantine but something like that,

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sort of close to the Abbey but not in direct contact.

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And then out through the Cloister there

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is the Infirmary Garden, known now as the College Garden

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and was the original garden going back, well, 900 years.

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And it's in the college garden that I caught up with head gardener Jan.

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Nice to see you.

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This garden used to be gardened by monks.

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Herbs were a very big part of their lives for medicinal purposes.

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Also, their diets were very bland, and therefore

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culinary herbs were extremely important.

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They had some very strong-tasting herbs as well

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that we probably wouldn't like.

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Jan, what is it like working in the Abbey Gardens?

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Well, the first seven or so years I was here I could not believe it.

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Just like looking up from watering a pot

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and you can see Victoria Tower over there.

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You know, every quarter of an hour you've got Big Ben going.

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It's just... I mean, we never have to have a watch or anything

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because we always know what time it is.

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The amazing thing is to be in the centre of this global capital.

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You know, right next to Parliament,

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the gardens around and then there's still space.

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And prayer often...

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We think of prayer in terms of words on a page, or a text,

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or something like that but somehow, being close to nature,

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close to the garden in this way, enables you to go beyond that.

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And of course, the original word "paradise"

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is an Iranian-Persian word

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that means garden.

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And so, that drawing close to paradise

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and drawing close to your garden kind of go hand-in-hand.

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# Our father

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# Which art in heaven

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-# Hallowed be

-Hallowed be

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# Thy name

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# Thy kingdom come

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# Thy will be done

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# On earth

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# As it is in heaven

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# Give us this day

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# Our daily bread

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# And forgive us our trespasses

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# As we forgive those who trespass against us

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# And lead us not into temptation

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# But deliver us from evil

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# For thine is the kingdom

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# And the power and the glory

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# Forever

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# Amen

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# Amen

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# For thine is the kingdom

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# And the power and the glory

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# Forever

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# And ever

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# Amen

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# Amen. #

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The organ is such a key element to church music,

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and the one here is among the finest in the world

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and I can't believe they're going to let me have a go on it.

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-Hi, Daniel.

-Hi.

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Sorry to interrupt you there. That sounded absolutely beautiful.

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-Thanks.

-This is quite a piece of kit.

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Just tell me, what are the major components?

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Well, we've got five keyboards which we call manuals on an organ,

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and they're just the same as the piano but they're slightly shorter.

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And then we have a pedal keyboard as well,

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which is the thing that most people are frightened of.

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-Yes.

-Although...

-It is frightening looking from my perspective.

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Absolutely. But it's just the same as the manuals

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-but it plays all the low pipes.

-OK.

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And then we've got all these buttons that you can see

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which are called pistons,

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and they give me separate combinations

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and make the stops move. And that brings me to the stops

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which control the different sounds.

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-Why don't you try pulling some out?

-Can I have... Shall we go for the...

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Let's see. The clarion and the trumpet. There we go.

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-Shall we see what they sound like?

-OK.

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HE PLAYS MELODY

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And now it's your turn.

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You don't want me to recreate that song, do you?

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-No. Anything you like.

-Anything I like, OK.

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SHE PLAYS MELODY

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Perfect. You're a natural. SHE LAUGHS

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-What about that?

-Excellent.

-Excellent.

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And what else can I try?

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-Why don't we try the flutes on this keyboard here?

-OK.

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-Yeah, very good.

-Very good. So I can take over next Sunday then?

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-Absolutely.

-Well, this is amazing.

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I mean, to be working in Westminster Abbey.

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Do you have to pinch yourself everyday?

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Sometimes I do, absolutely. And, um,

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the beauty about working here is that every day is different.

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There is no such thing as a standard day or a standard week

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but it is just a wonderful privilege.

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The great thing about playing here is that the big occasions

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are incredibly moving and powerful,

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and sitting on this screen in the middle of Westminster Abbey

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gives you a unique perspective on how the worship is progressing.

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And as well as leading the hymns

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and playing the voluntaries and accompanying the choir...

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the great thing about this organ in particular is,

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it's fantastic liturgically.

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I have the ability to be able to change the mood of a service

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from huge triumph to very quiet contemplation.

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THEY SING

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You can almost sense people's mood change from just sitting here.

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Back at Kew and I'm going to find out just how vicious

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Christ's-thorn really is.

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Tony, now, you're the expert here.

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-You're going to give me a lesson in pruning?

-I am.

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You're going to need these, Bill, cos it's quite ferocious, this.

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Yes. It's got an amazing Latin name, hasn't it, Christ's-thorn?

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It has. It's called Paliurus spina-christi.

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-OK.

-So, spina-christi is Latin for Christ's-thorn.

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And every two or three winters we go into this

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and we remove some of the dead wood.

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And you'll feel it's very thorny, hence the gloves.

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-I'm going to give you the secateurs.

-Right.

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And I'm going to pull this branch back, Bill.

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And you can see a piece of dead wood there

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that needs to come off at the stem.

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-This one here?

-Yeah.

-OK.

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-Good.

-Good. There's another big piece in there, Bill.

0:27:220:27:26

-All right?

-Yeah.

0:27:260:27:27

-This one?

-Yeah.

-OK.

0:27:270:27:29

-Good.

-And we just keep going until we've got all these out.

0:27:310:27:35

Lovely. Thank you.

0:27:350:27:37

Well, there are 132 hectares.

0:27:370:27:40

That's about 326 acres of gardens to explore here at Kew.

0:27:400:27:44

Everything from the world's oldest pot plant

0:27:440:27:47

to 40 species of plants that you simply can't find

0:27:470:27:50

anywhere else in the world now.

0:27:500:27:52

Around every corner here there's something amazing and beautiful.

0:27:520:27:57

Shall I have another go?

0:27:570:27:58

# Above all powers

0:28:050:28:08

# Above all kings

0:28:080:28:10

# Above all nature and all created things

0:28:110:28:16

# Above all wisdom

0:28:180:28:21

# And all the ways of man

0:28:210:28:26

# You were here before the world began

0:28:260:28:30

# Above all kingdoms

0:28:320:28:36

# Above all thrones

0:28:360:28:37

# Above all wonders the world has ever known

0:28:390:28:44

# Above all wealth and treasures of the earth

0:28:450:28:53

# There's no way to imagine what you're worth

0:28:530:29:00

# Crucified

0:29:000:29:03

# Laid behind a stone

0:29:030:29:06

# You lived to die

0:29:060:29:10

# Rejected and alone

0:29:100:29:12

# Like a rose

0:29:120:29:15

# Trampled on the ground

0:29:150:29:19

# You took the fall

0:29:190:29:22

# And thought of me

0:29:220:29:24

# Above all

0:29:250:29:30

# Crucified

0:29:300:29:33

# Laid behind a stone

0:29:330:29:36

# You lived to die

0:29:360:29:39

# Rejected and alone

0:29:390:29:42

# Like a rose

0:29:420:29:44

# Trampled on the ground

0:29:440:29:48

# You took the fall

0:29:480:29:50

# And thought of me

0:29:510:29:53

# Above all

0:29:550:29:58

# Like a rose

0:29:580:30:01

# Trampled on the ground

0:30:010:30:05

# You took the fall

0:30:050:30:06

# And thought of me

0:30:080:30:10

# Above all. #

0:30:120:30:17

Now, we all know what this is but will Claire be able to guess?

0:30:320:30:35

-Oh, hello.

-Hello, Bill.

-Had a good day?

0:30:350:30:37

I've had a wonderful day. And I've brought you a treat

0:30:370:30:39

-from Westminster Abbey.

-Mm-hm.

-It's blackcurrant sage.

-Mm-hm?

0:30:390:30:42

And I thought you could maybe plant your own sacred garden.

0:30:420:30:45

-Lovely. It'll smell of something like...

-Absolutely.

0:30:450:30:47

-You get that? The blackcurrant and the sage?

-Yeah, very nice.

-Lovely.

0:30:470:30:50

-Now, you can't really plant anything with this...

-No.

0:30:500:30:53

..but can you guess what it is?

0:30:530:30:55

I would say fern, but I'm guessing that's not quite right.

0:30:550:30:58

-No. Not quite. If I tell you it's not gold...

-Aha.

0:30:580:31:01

..and it's not myrrh.

0:31:010:31:02

-It'll be frankincense.

-Absolutely.

0:31:020:31:04

-Super.

-Well done.

-Thank you.

0:31:040:31:05

-Well.

-What a treat.

-It'll be a memento of sorts.

0:31:050:31:08

Absolutely.

0:31:080:31:09

Well, as our visit here to these beautiful gardens comes to an end,

0:31:090:31:12

what better way to finish than with a hymn

0:31:120:31:14

that truly reflects how sacred our green spaces can be?

0:31:140:31:18

-From Claire and me here at Kew Gardens, bye-bye.

-Bye-bye.

0:31:180:31:21

-Now, have you ever been here before?

-I haven't.

0:31:210:31:23

-Are you going to show me around?

-Yeah, come on.

-Lovely. Let's go.

0:31:230:31:25

# For the beauty of the earth...

0:31:280:31:32

Next week, join David and Sally

0:33:270:33:30

as they get away from it all at Ampleforth Abbey near York.

0:33:300:33:33

David learns how to Gregorian chant

0:33:330:33:36

and Sally goes cider tasting in the abbey's ancient orchard

0:33:360:33:40

and there are peaceful and soothing hymns from around the UK.

0:33:400:33:43

Bill Turnbull and Claire McCollum are in London in search of sacred gardens. Bill visits Kew to explore the new faith trail and Claire is at Westminster Abbey to find its hidden gardens.

There are hymns inspired by the wonder of God's creation and the Songs of Praise family faces a green-fingered challenge.


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