Head gardener keeping Bishop's Palace gardens pretty as a picture

April 27 2020
Head gardener keeping Bishop's Palace gardens pretty as a picture

THE Bishop’s Palace in Wells may be closed to visitors but one person at least is still keeping busy – head gardener James Cross.

There are still jobs that need doing in the 14 acres of gardens which James is managing almost entirely single-handed, with a little help from Bishop Peter’s wife Jane Hancock, who is said to be handy with a spade.

The gardens are as beautiful as ever at this time of year, when the magnolia blooms and hundreds of tulips emerge.

There is evidence that the gardens existed here even before Bishop Jocelyn began work on building the Palace in about 1220.

Today they have Grade II listed garden status due to their special historic nature, and in 2016 were acknowledged by the Royal Horticultural Society by being made a “Partner Garden”. This status is awarded to gardens of “outstanding and exceptionally high standards of planting and design” – a great achievement for James and his team.

Meanwhile, in other signs of normality at the Palace, the swans are being fed when they ring the bell, and Grace has laid several eggs and is now sitting on her nest.

The Bishop's Palace gardens

The Bishop's Palace gardens

The Bishop's Palace gardens

The Bishop's Palace gardens