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In the garden this month

January 2018

January finds us in the depths of winter but unbeknown to many, it is one of the busiest months in the garden at Fulham Palace.  From this month, we have lots of regular pruning jobs that can start to take place.   This includes coppicing some of the hazel, Corylus avellana for brushwood staking in the walled garden.  The stakes will be used for the herbaceous flower displays in the knot garden and to support peas and other climbing produce.   We also start to prune our apple trees and will continue to train the young fruit trees as espaliers or fans against the walls in the walled garden.   The wisteria is also due its winter prune.

As well as the usual tasks, we’re holding another community archaeological dig to complete the wall garden apple arch and path widening project funded by WREF (Western River Environmental Fund).  This month we will also be grafting more the apples and pears.  The old apple trees will remain in the ground for a few years until the arch has established.

Our phase 3 restoration landscape project is underway with the necessary tree management almost completed.  We will soon start clearing some of the ivy undergrowth to start making preparations for replanting areas.  The next main works will be the installation of the new path which will start in spring.

Elsewhere in the garden, January is a time to appreciate ornamental bark and other winter flowers.  One of our most prized tree specimens, the paper bark maple Acer griseum (rare in its native China), gleams on a sunny day.  Having dropped its leaves, the enticing winter bark display is exposed.  The bright copper colour has an uncanny match to the brickwork on the palace and chapel behind it.

Reassuring signs of spring start to appear in January with snowdrops appearing in our Moat walk.  We planted two more varieties, Galanthus nivalis f. pleniflorus ‘Flore Pleno’ and G. elwessii three years ago and so the bulbs should now be getting established and provide us with a winters display.

Winter flowering viburnums are also in full bloom at this time of year and we have a highly scented Viburnum x bodnantense specimen in the moat walk which is a lovely treat when walking through.

Now the leaves have dropped, the grounds at Fulham Palace have changed once again and the beautiful silhouettes of our deciduous trees are finally revealed.  There are however many evergreen trees still holding their form.  Our much loved 500 year old Holm Oak, Quercus ilex, a Great Tree of London and one of the oldest of its kind in Britain, stands wide and tall unaffected by December’s wintery weather


Lucy Hart

Head Gardener


In the garden this month
In the garden this month
In the garden this month
Designed at Richard P Chapman Design Associates

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