Sunday, March 15, 2009

Spring Procession: The Bishop's Garden

The Bishop's Garden, for those of you who don't know it, is a cloistered garden tucked into the Close of the Washington National Cathedral, beyond the south facade. It was constructed in the 1920's under the aegis of Florence Bratenhal and Frederick Law Olmstead, Jr. (who also did Central Park) and was conceived an "an urban oasis". Mission accomplished. The bones of the garden are so fine, it is exquisitely satisfying even in dead of winter, when husks of herbs and bare branches stand out wonderfully against the evergreen boxwood and yew. There's a hortulus with a Carolingean font amidst the lavendar and rosemary, a lovely shadow house, lush perennial borders in the summer, indeed, a discovery with every step. Go of an afternoon with a book and find a bench in the dappled sunlight. Daily worries be gone, in the sanctuary of the garden.

Images from a chilly Saturday, March 14: white-flowering quince (chaenomoles) in front of a stone wall; Heinz Warneke's Prodigal Son near a pinkish-white star magnolia (magnolia stellata 'Rosea'); and near the shadow house, an autumn flowering cherry (
prunus subhirtella 'Autumnalis'), which by rights should be called 'spring & autumn flowering cherry', since it flowers in two seasons. Note the fellow visitor, who was so enthusiastic he/she was eating the magnolia blossoms!

To learn more about visiting, click here.

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