There’s a hidden jewel behind St. Matthew’s Episcopal Cathedral not many people know about: the
In 1996, the dean of St. Matthew’s, Rev. Phillip Duncan II, decided that a plot of land behind the church would be the site of the future garden honoring the Rev. Canon Roma A. King, Jr., and his wife, Lucille Bailey King. The couple is credited with being the “essential binding elements” of the cathedral’s spiritual community.
Roma King has served as acting dean at St. Matthew’s twice, and has taught a Sunday school class there since he came to
“They have been instrumental in a lot of people’s lives,” says Candace Baker, the garden’s developer and chief gardener.
So Baker began work on the project, consulting with Michael Thompson from Sticks and Stones Nursery, who helped her design the garden, dividing it into areas of interest to the Kings: literature, nature, religion and cooking. The
In February of 2001, the garden was imbued with even more significance when its name was changed to the
It’s used primarily as a meditation garden, and the residents of the adjoining
“There always seems to be something different back there,” Baker says. “That’s what’s nice about
Baker calls the garden her “labor of love,” and says it helps her deal with the mental and emotional demands of her other job as a hospice nurse.
“It’s beautifully kept,” says Roma. “She’s done such a wonderful job. I couldn’t think of a nicer way for the church to honor us.”
Baker doesn’t use any pesticides, so visitors are encouraged to take clippings for culinary use when the plants are cut back. The garden is open during normal church hours, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Sundays during services. Visitors should call ahead at 214-823-8134 before making the trip.
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