It’s All About the Flowers

April 25, 2023

Flower Mart 2023

On May 5 and 6th, All Hallows Guild will host its 84th Flower Mart come rain or shine – hopefully shine.  Since 1939, except for two years during World War II and two years during the recent Covid-19 pandemic, All Hallows Guild has raised money to support the gardens and grounds of the Cathedral through its iconic Spring Festival.

Flower Mart has evolved from a one-day event with market carts on the Pilgrim steps to booths sponsored by area garden clubs to the current two-day extravaganza featuring children’s rides and games, entertainment, tower climb, and food and gift vendors.  The celebration of flowers continues throughout the years.

The Flower Mart theme in 1979 was Flowers International. Senator John Warner’s wife, Elizabeth Taylor, as the honored guest, cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony. 

Local garden clubs, churches, and school groups participated in this one-day event with booths such as Picadilly Pavilion, Flour and Flowers, and European Country Market to name a few.  The booths were judged by 4 Ambassadors’ wives (in keeping with the international theme) in three categories – Plant and Flower Booths, Food Booths, and General.  The criteria?  Colorful and Attractive Display, Originality, and Quality of Plants/Sales Appeal.  In addition, the public voted on the most popular booth – Flour and Flowers.

International Floral Display

In 2006, the Guild selected ‘Flowers Around the World’ as its theme with a floral exhibit featuring the Embassies of Belgium, Haiti, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland, South Africa, and Ukraine.  Since then, the International Floral Display has grown with 19 nations scheduled to display floral exhibits that represent each country’s culture or heritage in 2023. These arrangements are displayed with honor in the bays that run the extent of the Cathedral nave. Special lighting enhances each exhibit.  Delivering and installing the arrangements takes much time and attention to detail. In 2016, The Embassy of Thailand featured a fruit floral display with an exhibition of how each fruit was cut to resemble a flower.

The Embassy of Thailand creates a floral display out of fruit in 2016

These exhibits are not judged. Thousands of visitors to Flower Mart look forward to viewing the elegant, exotic, and often whimsical displays put together with such care by floral designers from each embassy. Ambassadors of the participating countries are invited to attend Flower Mart’s opening ceremonies.

We cannot feature all the beautiful arrangements created by the Embassies and their designers throughout the years in this blog. The Embassy of  Switzerland has been a regular participant in the Floral Display throughout the years showing its culture and geographic location with great attention to detail. 

The Washington National Cathedral’s Flower Guild designs the USA Floral arrangements. They are often a reflection of the Flower Mart theme.

Premier Plant Sale

Flower Mart is all about the flowers.  Before or after viewing the beautiful floral displays arranged by embassy designers, visitors can purchase their own flowers and plants at All Hallows Guild plant vendor, Premier Plants. Premier Plants started with the first Flower Mart selling plants on the Cathedral steps!  It’s evolved to selling plants on the West Lawn for over 40 years.  Here is what the plant sale looked like in 1952.

AHG Plant Sale – 1952

And today, Premier Plants has vastly expanded its space and the selection of plants. The notable herb collection is a chef’s delight featuring 64 different types of herbs including 7 varieties of basil, 5 varieties of lavender, 7 varieties of mint, 6 varieties of rosemary, and 6 types of scented geranium and over 2,500 plants. 

Our perennial offerings include 75 varieties of shade, sun, pollinators, natives, fragrant and aromatic, deer resistant, ferns, and many of the plants found in the Bishops Garden. A stellar selection of 100 different varieties of colorful annuals will greet plant lovers with over 1,900 plants available.

Premier Plants in the 21st Century

In addition to our Premier Plants, you will find a variety of vendors selling plants and garden supplies at Flower Mart.


All Hallows Guild was founded in 1916 to provide for the care and beautification of the grounds of Washington National Cathedral. The Guild works closely with the horticultural staff to preserve this historic landscape and raises funds for renovation and renewal of the gardens.


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    Washington, DC 20016


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