Spring In the Olmsted Woods

April 11, 2019

The Pilgrim Way path winds through the Olmsted Woods

Recent warm weather has caused the Olmsted Woods to “spring” to life!

Not only are leaves popping out on the trees and the spring blooms appearing, but our devoted group of Olmsted Woods volunteers has resumed their work removing invasive plants.

Daffodils are not a native plant, but have been left in the Olmsted Woods so as not to disrupt the soil.

Take a Walk in the Woods or join our Volunteers any Wednesday Morning

The Olmsted Woods is a five acre urban oak and hickory forest with stone footpaths, a contemplative circle, and native wildflowers. Taking a walk in the woods can be rejuvenating, but if you would like to truly immerse yourself, we welcome you to join our regular Wednesday morning volunteers – who meet from April through October to help maintain this serene landscape. Click HERE to fill out our volunteer form.

What’s Blooming in the Woods Right Now?

Virginia Bluebells in bloom in the Olmsted Woods – April 2019

Our Woods Volunteers have developed a wealth of knowledge about the plant species in the woods and report that right now many spring ephemerals are in bloom.

Virginia Bluebells are at their peak. Mayapples cover large areas near the Pilgrim path and look terrific – despite some nibbling by visiting deer. The Trout lily is doing well and showing yellow flowers. We have Spring Beauty, Cut-Leaved Toothwort, and many more Trilliums this year.

The daffodils look wonderful, although they are not native to the Woods. They were planted years ago and have not been removed because doing so would be disruptive to the soil and would therefore increase erosion.  

Amelanchier Bloom – April 2019

Permanent plants (not ephemeral) include Zizia – which is about to bloom. The Black Cohosh did not flower last year, but we’re hoping it will do better this year.

Flowering shrubs and trees include Amelanchier (at the George Washington circle), redbuds, and a pretty but non-native crabapple.

Cut Leaf Toothwort blooms in the Olmsted Woods – April 2019
Trout Lilly freed from its ivy embrace by a Woods Volunteer
Redbuds add Spring color to the Woods and frame the view of the South side of the Cathedral


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.


  • (202) 537-2937
  • ahg@allhallowsguild.org
  • 3101 Wisconsin Ave NW
    Washington, DC 20016


You’ll see what’s new in the gardens and learn about our upcoming events by subscribing to our monthly email newsletter.

Scroll to Top