Bishop’s Garden

No. 1 on the Map:

The Bishop’s Garden

To the south of the National Cathedral is the most intensely cultivated area of the 57-acre Cathedral Close. This walled garden was created to be suitable for a 14th century Gothic cathedral, with plants of historical interest, plants of the Bible and Christian legends along with plants native to the mid-Atlantic region.

Lower Perennial Border and Shadow House

Mature plant material was located and moved to the Cathedral grounds. Boxwood from George Washington’s Hayfield Manor and from Ellerslee Plantation in Virginia was planted in the Bishop’s Garden. The Garden’s cedars and fig trees trace their origins back to the Holy Land. Medieval sculpture from George Gray Barnard’s collection was acquired, and a 9th century baptismal font and 15th and 16th century bas-relief were incorporated into the Garden.

Upper Perennial Border

The original design of the Bishop’s garden represented a private garden “out back” and accessible from the Bishop’s House. It evolved to become a more public garden with a larger entrance through the Norman Court. The Bishop’s garden was completed for the General Convention of the Episcopal Church held in Washington in October 1928. Between the years 1925-1928, gifts from forty-four garden clubs from all over the country, as well as donations from many private individuals, made the Bishop’s Garden possible.

Bas-relief in the garden wall behind the Pool of St. Catherine

In 2013 a re-dedication of the Bishop’s Garden took place to celebrate the completion of three years of redesign, restoration, and replanting – all in keeping with the Garden’s original design. The Garden continues to evolve as plantings are replaced to accommodate a changing climate.

A 9th century baptismal font sits in the Bishop’s Garden

As one sees the [Bishop’s Garden] from the higher level of the entrance walk, [it] suggests the charm of its lights and shadows and density of leafage though no photographs can give a hint of its color and fragrance or do justice to the beauty of its quiet atmosphere: “a space of peace” set apart forever from the rush of the every day world. — Florence Bratenahl (Bishop’s Garden landscape designer)

Olmsted plan of the Bishop’s Garden as developed by Florence Bratenahl

To the west of the Bishop’s Garden is the Bishop’s Lawn – a large area of grass bordered by trees and flower beds.

Use the link below to see more of the Bishop’s Garden

Watch Washington National Cathedral’s video Nurturing Hope: Prayers and Pilgrimage in the Bishop’s Garden below featuring readings by All Hallows Guild Board members.

Help Us Keep The Gardens Growing

Partner with us to ensure that the 57 acres of gardens and grounds surrounding Washington National Cathedral continue to be a haven of peace and refreshment in the midst of the Nation’s Capital.


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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