Washington National Cathedral, The Bishop’s Garden and Its Recent Damage

January 14, 2012

Bishop's Garden at National Washington Cathedral

Bishop's Garden at National Washington Cathedral

The century-old Herb Cottage building was badly damaged on Wednesday, September 7, when a towering crane being used to secure the earthquake- damaged pinnacles of the Cathedral’s central tower toppled during windy storm conditions, smashing the front roof and garden area of the structure. Long a main source of revenue for All Hallows Guild, the Gift Shop in the Herb Cottage sustained considerable damage. Luckily, no one was injured. The clipped roof, causing structural and water damage, will be repaired. The garden, mutilated by the huge crane, can be re-established. The garden benches, the re-circulating pool and walkway can be renovated and the smashed fig tree replaced. Though beheaded and damaged in the crash, the small bronze statue of Pan, the legendary god of forests and gardens, which has greeted visitors at the front entrance to the Cottage since the 1960s, can be mended and reinstated in its familiar location. The treasured stone walls which have acted like protective surrounds to the area can eventually be restored. The shattering destruction means a long restoration period and will require strong financial support from All Hallows Guild and its many friends and followers.

As the crane fell on the Cottage its great weight devastated surrounding gardens. Nothing was spared. According to the Cathedral Director of Horticulture Joe Luebke, there was significant damage to plants and trees from the Pilgrim Steps to the front of Church House. The Yew and Sophora japonica above the Upper Border are destroyed as is the Weeping Cherry, memorial Crab Apple and American Holly.  The Norman Arch is damaged and the Bishop’s Garden lost trees, boxwood, bushes and flowers of historic interest and ancient heritage. Peggy Steuart, chair of the AHG Garden Committee is busy formulating plans for the recovery of the damaged area and advises everyone to view the Cathedral website for current information.  Rehabilitation will take months, if not years.  Engineering and horticultural experts are still finalizing recovery options.  Until then, All Hallows Guild –like Humpty Dumpty is putting it all together again.

For updated information and more pictures of the damage to the Herb Cottage and Bishop’s Garden,  please visit our website: www.allhallowsguild.org on the home page under “Tours” or “Fall Events”. If you would like to help the Guild restore, repair and renew the extensive areas of destruction, you may do so online:  https://www.allhallowsguild.org/involved/donation_form.php


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