A new year for the Fulham Palace gardens written by head gardener, Lucy Hart.
A new year can often bring a renewal of optimism and a chance for a fresh start. Sadly none of us can ignore the sense of uncertainty with what the pandemic holds for us in this coming new year. However pandemic or no pandemic; nature, seasons, day length and plant life advance and move on. Change brings hope and this can always be found in the garden at Fulham Palace (or any open space outside – a park, a common, even people’s front gardens for example).
The first sighting of snowdrops that we will see at Fulham Palace uplift our spirits and remind us of the horticultural promise of spring flowers that lie ahead. This autumn we planted many more spring-flowering daffodils and tulips (some donated by the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association and Taylors bulbs to who we are very grateful).
We’ve cleaned out all 18 of our bird boxes and these are all back up and all set for new occupants. The vegetable beds have been mulched and are ready for the first early sowings of beetroot and carrots in March, whilst winter crops such as chard, Brussels sprouts and stemmed broccoli await to be harvested.
Its also at this time that we are preparing for the coming growing season. The vegetable beds plan has been crop rotated, finalised and seed ordering is well underway. We are engulfed in images in our heads of summer cut flowers and fresh green produce filling the beds.
Its true that a new year finds us into the depths of winter but that’s not to say we are less busy in the garden. In fact, far from it. From January onwards 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 perennial flower displays in the knot garden and to support peas and other climbing produce. We also start to prune our fruit trees in the orchard, along the apple and pear arch and train the espaliered wall fruit trees in the walled garden.
If you want to hear more about how the wisteria arch project is going then please come along to one of our Q&A sessions on 20 & 25 January.
If you’re interested in learning more about pruning, specifically pruning a historic wisteria, please do join my workshop on Tuesday 8 February.