In the garden this month
February is a very interesting month for horticultural activity (just as long as the ground isn’t covered in snow). With lighter mornings and evenings, Christmas and New Year celebrations long forgotten, and a slight taste of spring in the air, it’s time to get our secateurs, forks, spades and wheelbarrows out as we have much garden preparation to do.
Widening the Walled Garden paths is well under way thanks to funding from WREF (Western Riverside Environmental Fund) and to our garden volunteers for putting in the hard labour. The paths will now be a comfortable 2.6 metres wide to allow for easy access for all. Old images of the garden also portray a wider path, more in proportion to the rest of the almost 1 hectare sized Walled Garden.
February is wisteria winter pruning time. There are two large Wisteria sinensis Chinese Wisteria specimens at Fulham Palace – one growing against the Palace itself and the other trained in a grand 40 metre long arc surrounding the knot garden in the Walled Garden. This range of growing situations provides the Palace with a wonderful succession of wisteria flowers around April/May time with the Palace specimen opening first benefiting from the warm wall it’s trained against. The Walled Garden specimen’s flowers come slightly later being a free standing living structure. The iconic specimen in the Walled Garden is thought to date back to at least the 19th Century as it appears in a picture dated 1899. Back then it was supported by metal hoops of which some remains of these still exist, and can be seen at this time of year.
We will be coppicing our hazel this month generating brush wood material for creating plant supports in the knot garden and for the vegetable garden. Some older crops from last year such as kale, carrots, brussels sprouts are now being fully harvest and the beds cleared. Once the compost has aged more we will be mulching on top, hopefully soon. The autumn sown broad beans have germinated well, and the spring cabbage and winter salads are looking good. Flower and vegetable seeds for this year are almost all ordered. This year we will continue to sell our organically grown fresh produce on the barrow and supply vegetables to the restaurant Elystan Street.
Look out for early spring bulbs popping up as the month progresses. Snowdrops season is well underway, and they can be found in our woodland along the barked paths. Depending on how the weather goes we may start seeing the glorious Cherry Plum, Prunus cerasifera, blossom in the Walled Garden and the beautiful Magnolia x soulangeana, fingers crossed.