Historic research reveals secrets of Tudor kitchen garden

New glasshouses at Fulham Palace kitchen garden © Matthew Bruce

Fulham Palace Tudor walled kitchen garden has won the 2016 Society of Garden Designers Award for historic garden restoration.

The project was a close collaboration between the Walled Kitchen Garden Network and landscape consultant Urquhart & Hunt, with historical research overseen by garden historian Susan Campbell.

Horticulturalists, garden historians, archaeologists, garden designers, and even the cafe chefs have contributed to the research and restoration. In the process they discovered an underground dipping pond, and that the glasshouse was originally used for growing grapes and pineapples for the bishop’s palace.

The walled garden has now been rebuilt from ruins and is run by a team of volunteers, although restoration is ongoing. A new glasshouse, fitted to the curved wall and following the footprint of the original pinery-vinery, has replaced a derelict timber one, and head gardener Lucy Hart has planted wall fruits around the edge of the garden.

The judges said: ‘There is sense of wonder stepping into the walled garden of Fulham Palace now. It is a garden that has regained its purpose, with vegetables and fruit in abundance. Sensitive and intelligent choices have been made, both with the plants and the use of the space. The research and the careful attention to the past, whilst acknowledging the present use of the garden, has resulted in a thoughtful and exciting restoration.’

Fulham Palace is close to the Thames in London SW6; the garden is open to the public and free to visit. Visit www.fulhampalace.org for more information.


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