Fresh Clips: The Enchanted Herb Garden of the Washington National Cathedral

Take a journey into the past via the captivating medieval herb garden of the Washington National Cathedral.


| August/September 2012


If you’ve ever dreamed of wandering through the serene, scented herb gardens of medieval gothic cathedrals, you don’t have to travel all the way to Europe to do it. Amid the hustle and bustle of Washington, D.C., lies the 57-acre grounds of the Washington National Cathedral. It is a peaceful green space designed to mimic the aromatic herb and flower gardens of the grandest medieval Gothic cathedrals.

While the Episcopal cathedral itself is magnificent, garden lovers will be immediately drawn to a Norman archway in the garden’s stone wall leading to the intimate, three-acre Bishop’s Garden—a series of scented garden “rooms” winding down the terraced hillside. Trees, shrubs, flowers, herbs and artifacts welcome you into a world far away from the rush and noise of nearby Wisconsin Avenue.

A Medieval Herb Garden

As you follow the stone paths and steps through giant, unruly boxwood hedges, you reach the herbal heart of the garden: the Hortulus, Latin for “little garden.” Anchoring the small, square space is a massive stone baptismal font surrounded by a staggering collection of herbs including rosemary, lemon balm, lovage, mint, parsley, wormwood, tansy, feverfew, valerian, clary sage and horehound. Aromatic apothecary’s rose and Iris germanica are also tucked into the planting.

Slipping through a narrow gap in the surrounding hedge, one arrives at another striking piece: a bronze sundial on top of a 13th-century French carved-stone pillar. It marks the start of a large, sunny space featuring classic culinary and aromatic herbs including lovage, chives, fennel, costmary, pineapple and Mexican sages, and more.



Though herbs form the basis for the enchanting Bishop’s Garden, perennial borders and a central rose garden add color to the hillside. A weathered stone wayside cross marks the pathway leading to a shady pool, overlooked by 15th-century bas-relief plaques set into the wall.

Many of the sculptures throughout the garden came from the private collection that formed the basis of the famous Cloisters Museum in New York City. Visit Herbal Escape: The Cloisters Museum and Gardens for more about the museum.








mother earth news fair 2018 schedule

Next: June 2-3, 2018
Frederick, MD

LEARN MORE








Subscribe today and save 58%

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living !

Mother Earth LivingWelcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $19.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $24.95.




Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265