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Preparing for the Dig

by Lucy Hart, head gardener

In the walled garden, beyond the manicured knot garden we have a digger and two dumper trucks working away. At first glance you might think we’re already starting the garden build. Not so fast!

The Fulham Palace garden project is taking garden history research to another level, in fact – below ground level. The archaeologists commenced preparation work for the Fulham Palace community dig this week. The first stage is to take the top turf layer off which we will compost and then to excavate through the topsoil layer.

What makes this very exciting for us horticulturists is that the archaeologists are looking specifically for garden archaeology. This could be garden artefacts and we have already found a bronze arrow-shaped numbered tree label that would have been banged into the tree, possibly dating back to the early 19th century. Changes of soil types are also of great interest as this may indicate the bed layouts from the late 18th century when the walled garden was first built.  Such findings can help us plan the garden and could influence the design layout for the future.