We are hosting an Open Day in the private garden of Lambeth Palace on Friday 3rd May 2019, home of Archbishop Justin Welby, President of USPG, and the garden is a little known hidden oasis in the heart of London and one of the oldest continuously cultivated in the country, having been established in 1197. As well as containing many species native to England, the garden, which covers an area of over 10 acres, also comprises of plants from all over the world, reflecting the diversity and reach of those who make up the Anglican Communion.
Maintained using organic principles wherever possible, the garden contains many different elements both formal and wild. Tulips, wood anemone, wild primroses and mascari carpet the floor underneath Cardinal Pole’s enormous fig tree which was planted in 1556 by the last Roman Catholic Archbishop and which produces abundant and delicious fruit. (A propagated cutting was given to the current Pope).
Earlier in the year large drifts of hellebores, snowdrops and winter aconites thrived in the Duchy Border, which also contain noisette, shrub and woodland roses due out in June and where a ‘Mother and Child’ statue resides. An orchard in blossom promises a future season of plums, cobnuts, quince and apples, and Snakes Head Fritillaries flowering nearby are a quiet nod to the temptation of Eve. Other jewels include a swing, benches, a rose arbour, mulberry trees, a main lawn, a stone pagoda, a native hedge, plane trees, an orchard and ‘The Chapel Garden’ with scented bands of planting.
Visitors on 3rd May 2019 will not only have the unique opportunity to view a gem that people don’t often get the chance to see, but according to Nick Stewart , Head Gardner, “They will be coming at what I think is one of the most exciting times, as this historic garden is in a time of transition.” Lambeth Palace Library is one of the most important ecclesiastical libraries in the world – second only to the Vatican and a new building is under construction which is going to back on to a large water garden. The water garden area, designed by the well-known Chelsea award winner Dan Pearson, has been planted with over 100 perennial plants which have been grown over the past 2 years in the nursery there without any chemicals and it is already proving to be a popular home for invertebrates and small birds. There has been an upturn in the number of long-tailed tits and comma butterflies throughout the garden.
Other attractions also include a pond, bee hives producing honey which is available to buy, a grass labyrinth and plenty of benches that can be used for contemplation and a host of other delights awaiting discovery.
Tickets are available on the gates of Lambeth Palace which are open between 12-3pm. Admission is £5 for adults, children free. Dogs are welcome and there are refreshments available. There will be guided tours from members of the gardening team available at 1pm and 2pm Find out more about Lambeth Palace Gardens here