Florence Brown Bratenahl (1884 – 1940) worked with landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., to lay out the entire Cathedral Close.
Bratenahl and Olmsted envisioned the expanse of greenery at the Cathedral’s foot to recall a medieval cloister garden, with carefully chosen plants and sculpture dispersed among separate “garden rooms.” Mrs. Bratenahl was able to acquire enormous trees and other unusual material from estates throughout Virginia and elsewhere for use on the Close. Some notable transplants were already hundreds of years old when moved to the Cathedral grounds – each deemed to possess sufficient character for placement next to the Cathedral.
Florence Bratenahl was married to the Cathedral’s second Dean, George C. F. Bratenahl. She served as the Chair of All Hallows Guild’s Garden Committee, as well as Guild Treasurer. She worked tirelessly to raise funds for the construction of the gardens. She was awarded the Emily D. Renwick Achievement Medal by the Garden Club of America in 1929 for her design of the Cathedral College of Preachers Cloister Garth.
Mrs. Bratenahl created a number of publications to generate interest the the Cathedral’s Gardens. Including:
- In the Spirit of Old World Gardens, 1927
- A Garden for the Ages, 1928
- A Cathedral Hillside And Its Gardens, 1929
- The Pilgrim Steps and Other Cathedral Landscape Adventures, 1930
- Historic Trees, Boxwood, Yew and Stone, 1932
You may view PDF versions of these publications using the following link: