Fulham Palace Gardens

September 30, 2019

I absolutely believe that having public access to natural areas, gardens, and open spaces is so good for wellbeing. And it is things like the National Lottery Heritage Fund that enables us to remain open free of charge, seven days a week, so we’re open to all. The project itself has enabled us to put in this wonderful new path, so we’ve got all year round access now. It started back in autumn 2017 where I started clearing areas to make space to plant a really special plant collection, a historic plant collection, that would of been here from 1675 to 1713 when Bishop Compton was here. He was a very keen plant collector and, he was a leading botanist and horticulturalist at that time. There has been a garden here since the 1500s. Bishop Compton wasn’t the first bishop to have an interest in the garden. Bishop Grindle before that he was here from 1520. He would grow grapes for Queen Elizabeth I and he also introduced the tamarisk plant. However, we really did want to tell the story of Bishop Compton and focus on him because he was so important and so famous at that time. He was using his clergymen who were overseas in the British colonies, to not only spread the word of the church, but to also send plant species back because that was one of his main interests. Including particularly North America, Virginia but also the Mediterranean, India and Jamaica. Volunteers are a really important part of our work here at Fulham Palace. We’ve got 280 across the whole organisation and I’ve got 50 garden volunteers who usually come in once a week. So they are very much part of the day to day runnings of the Palace. And also very involved in the National Lottery Heritage Funded project. Now the gardens are open we have garden tours, we have a wonderful team of volunteer guides, who can do a history tour and you can learn all about the background of Bishop Compton and his passion for plants. As well as our garden guides, you will get to walk round and see some of our amazing specimen trees. We also do head gardener evening tours which is all in our ‘Whats On’ guide. There are self-led trails as well. We have a trail for each season, so it’s very much getting children involved. And we’re also still developing the gardens, I’m about to put in a natural play area. If I had a chance to speak to National Lottery players, I would hope they understand what the funding, what their ticket has enabled us to do. And it’s really given us the biggest boost that we’ve had to date. It has put us, Fulham Palace on the map, and it’s made our garden and the Palace itself become as good as it can get, I think. So I hope they understand maybe they might not of won. But certainly they have helped this wonderful heritage site.

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