by Jamie Atwell, garden volunteer
Contrary to T.S Eliot’s view, April, for gardeners anyway, has not been the cruellest month. The weather is warmer and ‘The Beast from the East’ is now a distant memory. We may be enjoying a few spring showers (!), but that is to be expected at this time of year.
This preamble is a way of saying that the garden at Fulham Palace is bursting into life and there is no holding back on growth and activity. The wisteria in both the walled garden and on the south side of the Palace itself are coming into bud and are set to produce a wonderful display in a few weeks time. The new pathways outside the south and the east of the walled garden are nearing completion, which will give us the opportunity to explore this wonderful place without the distraction of muddy footwear. As I write, the vegetable beds in the walled garden are being reconfigured. This is to create more bed space for growing the organic produce and flowers for sale on the market barrow later in the year, and to link the whole garden so each quadrant leads into the other.
This is all due to the hard work and dedication of our three garden apprentices: Lizzy, Franziska and Alice who, under the overall supervision of head gardener Lucy Hart, are responsible for the preparation and propagation of the marvellous produce and plants from the walled garden that Fulham Palace has to offer. I may be biased (ok, I am biased!) but I cannot think of a better place in London from which to buy flowers and vegetables. What’s more, all sale proceeds are ploughed back into further improvements in the garden.
The team of garden volunteers have been busy as well, from seed sowing to weeding, spring cleaning the Vinery, edging pathways, to sharpening and cleaning tools for the weeks ahead, along with all manner of treats Lucy has for us! T.S Eliot’s view of the cruelty of April is, from a gardening perspective, a misnomer. Far more suited are the words of the American poet Christopher Morley: “April prepares her green traffic light and the world thinks go.”