A new event exploring all aspects of ancient gardens!
On Monday 29th May, join in with talks, tours, demonstrations and workshops covering everything from medicine to ancient garden design, Roman cuisine to natural dyes.
Part of the Palace site is a Roman garden – the oldest known formal garden in the country. Reconstructed from archaeological evidence, the hedges, trees and flower beds are planted directly into the bedding pits and trenches left by the Romans, enabling visitors to step back in time to the grounds as they were two thousand years ago.
The Palace would like to invite visitors to come and explore the garden in greater depth. On Monday 29th May, a cornucopia of horticulturalists, gardeners, garden historians and creatives will be on hand to lead you through the history of gardens.
Although Fishbourne Roman Palace Garden is so ancient, it feels remarkably familiar. The features which make up the garden are those that are still used today – hedges, lawn, gravel paths, a statement tree, flower beds and so on. If these features were in use by the Romans, where did they come from? How and why did these features develop? Join one of the tours on the day to find out…
Tucked away into a corner of the Palace site is the Research Garden. Established in the 1990s by garden historian Claire Ryley, it showcases many of the plants that the Romans brought to Britain. Here can be found not only more exotic species such as figs, grapes and citrons but also more homely broad beans, leeks, parsnip and thyme. So what else did the Romans bring to Britain? How much of our modern diet can they be thanked for? Most importantly, where did the Romans themselves find these plants originally?
Do you enjoy dining al fresco? The ancients got there first, and in some style! Experience the outdoor triclinium which looks out across the small formal pool, through the pergola and over the garden. Shaded by vines and made comfortable by cushions, wraps and throws, here the Romans could sip their cooled Falernian wine and feast on suckling pig, sweet wine cakes and spelt bread. Waited on by slaves to save them having to stretch too far to reach their food, the Romans could make the most of long, lazy summer days.
So how have gardens and gardening changed? Explore the Garden Museum and find out about ancient garden tools and methods of gardening. Ask our team of experienced gardeners about pruning fruit trees, caring for grape vines and looking after many of our more specialist plants.
If you would like to take some of the experience home with you, why not treat yourself to one or two of the plants on sale? Try a different species which the Romans brought over to Britain and find out how to make use of it. Talk to the specialist producers on site and listen to them explain how they employ these ingredients and how they can be used in the home.
Come and find a different perspective on gardens, their plants and garden features. Who knows how far the ancient influence may spread!