Wednesday, 1 June 2011

One afternoon, amongst the Palace gardens...

Living in the Sands End, I admit that the Fulham Palace Road and Bishops Park area is not one Sarah and I are particularly familiar with - despite the fact that Sarah's mother swears she frequently took her around Bishops Park when she was a small child. In fact, so poor was my knowledge of the area that I'm afraid I didn't even know that there was an actual Palace that gives the Fulham Palace Road its name.

Nonetheless, we were pleased to head on over to pastures new, in the name of gardening of all things, and we ended up having a really eye-opening afternoon! We went along to check out a local business that has been part of the community for donkey's years, but most importantly, is constantly giving something back to that community, and many others. The Fulham Palace Garden Centre is allied to Fairbridge (and more recently, the Princes Trust). All their profits go towards helping kids from disadvantaged areas, and shortly the centre hopes to offer apprenticeships via the Princes Trust too - meaning that they'll help several youths a year learn and productive and rewarding trade. So, safe in the knowledge that any pot-plants/barbecues/soft furnishings/ornate garden tables that we might indulge in would be totally guilt-free, we were more than happy to go and check it all out.

The centre aims to "offer everything for the town gardener", and to my (non-expert) eyes, I'd say they pretty much hit that target, as well as providing everything for the town barbecue enthusiast, interiors obsessive and much more besides. As well as your garden essentials like seeds, trellising, and chicken poo (yes, there was plenty of that, much to our infantile amusement), the shop also sells the most gorgeous cushions, candles, baking sets, and all sorts of other beautiful (quite girly) things. All of it was displayed in a really creative and appealing manner, making the Fulham Palace Garden Centre as much a gift and interiors destination as it is a gardener's delight, and I'm sure we'll be back to check out the shop fairly often.

As you might have gathered, Sarah and I are not huge gardening experts, but we loved pottering amongst the flowers and fruit trees and enjoying the view (look at sexy Garden Centre assistant Alex - I'm sure many an old lady has swooned as he's helped them with their herbaceous perennials, Sarah certainly did!). The day we were there, they were also doing a barbecue demonstration - and I can assure you that plant shopping in the sun with a glass of sangria and a barbecue cooked Blondie (white chocolate and raspberry brownie) in hand is certainly a Bank Holiday activity that I could get used to!

Fulham Palace Garden Centre
Bishops Avenue
Website here.

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