Appeal for gardening volunteers at Fishbourne Roman Palace

The Roman pergola in the gardens of Fishbourne Roman Palace
The Roman pergola in the gardens of Fishbourne Roman Palace
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GREEN-fingered volunteers are ‘urgently needed’ to help tend the ‘magnificent’ gardens at Fishbourne Roman Palace, the first ornamental garden of its time.

Residents with plant and gardening knowledge are welcome, as well as those happy to weed and tame the recreated Roman gardens at the palace – the largest Roman residence discovered north of the Alps.

In return, volunteers are offered free access to the palace as well as entry to the Sussex Archaeological Society’s other five properties including Michelham Priory and Lewes Castle.

Travelling expenses can be reimbursed, if required.

Palace head gardener Martin Flux said: “With the late spring this year, everything has suddenly burst into life, including the weeds.

“We have an excellent team of gardeners but more help is needed to get our unique garden looking perfect for our summer visitors.

“In return, we offer the chance to work on an interesting and rewarding project with others and to visit the society’s other attractions free of charge.”

Site director Jaane Rowehl said: “Our Roman residents must have had hundreds of slaves to keep these gardens looking pristine.

“Even modern power tools can’t replace the need for manpower.

“A few years ago we welcomed staff teams from local businesses who generously gave us a day of their time. That can make a real difference, too.”

Anyone who would like more information on volunteering can call 01243 789829 and ask to speak to Betina Blake.

Fishbourne Roman Palace dates back to the beginning of Roman occupation in Britain and offers visitors of all ages a unique chance to look back in time.

Discovered in 1960, the north wing remains an important visitor attraction and archaeological site for anyone interested in learning more about Roman art and architecture.