Tour the Garden with docent Francie Owens and public radio's Stephanie Kay
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"There's rosemary, that's for remembrance. Pray you, love, remember," says Ophelia in her mad scene in Hamlet. The Elizabethan Garden is inspired in part by such herbal references in Shakespeare's plays, but it also incorporates plants that were simply popular in his time, including lavender, creeping thyme, and English ivy.
This special area, opened in 1989, includes a knot garden as well as flowerbeds, trees, hedges, and benches. It was created through the generosity of Mrs. Poe Burling, Dr. and Mrs. Timothy Childs, and Mr. and Mrs. Cabot Sedgewick, along with many friends.
The armillary sphere in the center of the garden, a memorial to former Folger director O.B. Hardison, serves as both a garden ornament and a sundial. The entrance to the garden through a wrought-iron fence was given in memory of Michael D. Valentine, a former employee.
In 2003 and 2004, a longstanding plan to include more sculptures on the Folger grounds was realized through the addition of works by Greg Wyatt evoking the characters and themes of eight of Shakespeare's plays.
The Elizabethan Garden is open throughout the year, Monday through Saturday, 10am to 5pm, as well as before most Folger performances.
Docent tours of the Elizabethan Garden are available every first and third Saturday of the month, from April through October, at 10 and 11am. The tour is free; no advance reservations necessary.