How to grow the tastiest beans, with advice from the head gardener at Fulham Palace


“Debs Goodenough, Highgrove’s head gardener, came over to give me some advice and I remember walking around with her asking, ‘Do you have any ideas?’ She had done a similar project at Osborne House.

When Hart arrived in November 2011, the walled garden at Fulham Palace was used simply to grow municipal wallflowers, but she saw the potential and growing it was a challenge she took on.

“My goal was to bring the place back to life with a vegetable patch, involve the community and create an attraction for visitors,” Hart recalls. “The 19th century greenhouses had just been rebuilt and they had dug the moats. The wisteria was there and a few old fruit trees, otherwise it was pretty empty.

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One of the most appealing qualities of Hart’s Garden is the way it has been seamlessly grafted into place, complementing the historic location so easily that it’s now hard to imagine how it could have been other than this. that it is.

“We did a big community dig, looking for garden archeology, revealing signs of what it could have been, and we found these diagonal bed shapes that inspired the kitchen garden layout we have today. ‘hui,’ says Hart.

“But since there are no surviving plans, I had free rein to do whatever I wanted, so it only has a loose relationship with an 18th century garden.”

In fact, Hart’s triangular flowerbeds are a key part of the garden’s success as they provide an alluring maze of paths for the visitor, in which you are surrounded by diverse foliage and exposed to the scents of flowers and vegetables on all sides.

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In contrast, the west side of the walled garden is Hart’s newly planted orchard, again drawing inspiration from a historical precedent. “I was looking forward to planting around the existing trees and during our archaeological digs we found old tree pits lined with clay to retain moisture – it is well drained here next to the Thames – i So I decided to plant an orchard, ”Hart told me.

“This garden is an old programmed monument, which places restrictions on where we can put trees, so I added espalier fruit trees – pears, quinces, apples, peaches, cherries and plums – and herbaceous borders along the walls, including the pollinator border which I planted two years ago.

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The sympathetic balance of nature and culture is a defining quality of any successful garden. Hart’s Walled Garden does this in a particularly charismatic way, adopting formal structures while leaving the plants just enough overgrown.

Your attention is drawn to the beauty of the plantation and the individual plants, while ensuring that they are not sublimated by any design rigidity. In Fulham, you never feel like you’re in a municipal or even a public garden, and it evokes a relaxed domestic atmosphere that is transporting.



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