Summer in the Sundial Garden

July 11, 2019

The Sundial Bed in the Bishop’s Garden, July 2019

For years, spring-flowering bulbs were planted in several of the beds in the Bishop’s Garden; however, digging up the spent bulbs after bloom was destructive to the formal perennial plantings. Recently only the Sundial Bed became a showcase for spring bulbs and was afterward filled with other plants.

Spring bulbs flowering in the Sundial Bed, April 2017

For a long while, herbs were in place for summer and fall. However, the Hortulus features herbs from historic lists for cooking, medicine, or strewing in a medieval monastery or home, so our gardeners have begun using annuals in various creative designs for summer interest.

Sundial Bed, June 2019

This year the Sundial’s theme is “Grandmother’s Garden” and many rather old-fashioned flowers are in place for beautiful summer color and a hint of nostalgia. Featured are: Gladiolas, Zinnias, Gomphrena “Fireworks”, Verbascum “Banana Custard”, African Blue Basil, Lantana, Mecardonia “Gold Dust”, Mirabilis jalapa ”Salmon Sunset” (4 o’clocks), and Dahlias.

Zinnias and African Blue Basil in the Sundial Bed, July 2019

Come by and see the riot of color and perhaps recall gardens you once knew. And take note that the 18th century English bronze sundial sits on a 13th century Gothic capital of Caen limestone from a ruined monastery near Rheims Cathedral.

“Grandmother’s Garden”, the Sundial Bed, July 2019
In Summer 2017 the Sundial Bed featured Sunflowers


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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