You may or may not know of the Greenhouse, which was on the Cathedral grounds for many many years. It was the best place in the city for fresh herbs, plants, wonderful planters and had a small section for "gardening items."
At this time of the year, when wreaths, greens, boxwood and poinsettias are so sought after, many people may be nostalgic for the Greenhouse. Native Washingtonians flocked there every year to buy combinations of firs, cedar, juniper, pine, holly, boxwood, winterberry stems and magnolia leaves cut on the Cathedral grounds. Live plants at Christmas included amaryllis and paperwhites.
Alas, there is but one remaining reminder of it in the Bishop's Garden: it is the concrete planters on either side of the bench in the Norman Court. The front of each planter has a thistle carved on it. That replicates the thistle on the fountain in the Court, which was dedicated to the memory of Peter McLachlan - a former head Bishop's Garden Gardener.
All Hallows Guild was loosely involved with the Greenhouse: one of our members, Anne Elsbree, was its manager for awhile and the Cathedral asked us to take it over many times. The Guild felt at the time that it could not handle the Herb Cottage and the Greenhouse - both were active retail shops. But our "Garden Girls" may miss the Greenhouse more than anyone...
If I close my eyes, I can see the choir coming down from the Cathedral on Christmas Eve to sing carols on the path. No lights or tinsel for these trees, just the majesty that Mother Nature gave them.
The walk just inside the main entrance, the Glenn Gate on South Road, is called the Norman Walk and it has been re-designed with wonderful plants – some of which speak of Christmas.
On the right side of the Walk, there are 9 or 10 pyramidal shaped boxwoods. These little Christmas tree-like boxwoods are called "Green Mountain." Green Mountain Boxwood is a cold hardy boxwood developed from Sheridan Nursery in Canada. Its parents are Buxus sempervirens (American boxwood) & Buxus sinica var. insularis (Korean little leaf boxwood). As a cross between the two, it is no longer considered one or the other, but simply Buxus x Green Mountain. There is a whole green series of boxwood that have come from this nursery in Canada.
And to further set the mood they are interspersed with a wonderful cultivar of the sasanqua camellia, called "Snow Flurry."
There are still many beautiful plants blooming in the Bishop’s Garden. The Bishop’s Garden will be open to all visitors during Christmas – a lovely way to emphasize that nature provides the perfect backdrop for the Christmas season.