Newsletter – June 2023
Another busy month is behind us and the weather gods have finally decided to smile. Our gardens continue to be admired, the established ones looking particularly lush (River View and Figgy Gardens) and the newly created ones now needing time and care to flourish. No major imminent project is on the horizon, so June will see us focusing on maintenance, all in preparation for our PROMTASTIC! event at month end.May highlightsWe took part in the coronation weekend’s community BIG HELP OUT day. Many volunteers and local residents heeded our call to grow sunflowers and we planted them out along the promenade. Fingers crossed they settle in well and deliver some statuesque summer impact. Our local MP, Sir Ed Davey, helped planting some flowers too. His visit enabled him to gain a wider overview of our group’s initiative and achievements, which he was immensely impressed with, so much so that he offered strategic support where we need it. He may also join one of our next committee meetings to brainstorm opportunities along the promenade.The annual Community Open Week at Kew Garden provided an unmissable opportunity to organise another group outing. On a sunny day we could explore their spring gardens and get inspired by some of their planting schemes. Hard to beat though were our Tai-Chi exercises in the garden grounds, what refreshing fun! Could that be organised along our promenade, facing a sunset silhouette of our beautiful river landscape?Surbiton High School had another blitz event for their flower bed further up the promenade close to Ginger Bees café. We hear about 100 pupils, parents and teachers signed up and did a great job clearing the massive regrowth of nettles and bindweed. New planting has gone in too which will brighten up this promenade entrance.The mural on the yacht club building has been finished to much acclaim from volunteers and the wider public. The building is almost unrecognisable in its beautiful transformation. Thanks again to Harriet and Sunnie of ninety-five prints for their hard work, occasionally at very late hours, and their superb job which created a talk-of-town attraction in Kingston! It is an excellent example of us putting pride back into the Prom.With the mural finished, we could get down to brass tacks with the creation of our Sensory Garden. Graham organised a turf cutter that reduced an otherwise back-breaking manual job down to a 90-minute ‘fun’ with a tough machine. With turf removed, path chiselled out, bench varnished and placed, all that was left was filling the path with woodchip and putting a good 200 plants into the soil that had only been trampled on for decades. We even managed to place a mural-coordinated sign in the garden providing further information about sensory garden principles. A heartfelt THANK YOU from me to everyone who enabled this project (RBK council officers, Glendale, Vision Charity and London River Yacht Club) and all those volunteers who worked tirelessly to make it a reality! The compliments from countless walkers-by are simply fantastic; one lady said ‘you have brought back happiness’ and then gave me a hug. Made my day.Last but not least, both So-Shan and Tim burned some midnight oil to update and expand our QPF website. It now provides more information about our group, our promenade gardens and projects; with latest news, blogs and links to our social media sites regularly added and refreshed. Well done both, your professional website and editing skills really have come to the fore here, it looks smashing. Go have a look.
June in focus at QPF
With no immediate new project in the offing (though the committee is discussing a few new ones for autumn!), a bit of a slow-down in June is perhaps quite welcome. Naturally, our existing gardens need tending to and we’ll keep them fresh and looking good for our PROMTASTIC! event.PROMTASTIC!
We will be celebrating QPF’s achievements in transforming the promenade in our summer highlight event. It gives us an ideal opportunity to show the outcome of tremendous initiative and many thousands of hours of dedicated work by all volunteers.
During a walk-and-talk along the promenade we will be visiting each of our six gardens, formally opening the three new ones (Sensory Garden, Raven’s View Garden and Italian Garden), hearing fascinating historic facts and tales and chatting with members of the public. It is fitting that we will end at the Italian Garden which has been our group’s longest ever project and show off the stunning restoration of this seventy-metre-long Victorian rockery which lay hidden until six months ago.
PROMTASTIC! takes place at 2:30pm on Sunday 25th June and starts at the entrance opposite Grove Road (Woodland Garden). It will be a lovely day for QPF members, friends and families and the Kingston public, so bring a picnic and celebrate us putting pride back into the Prom.
We are delighted that The Worshipful the Mayor of the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, Councillor Diane White, and her Consort, Mr Jonathan White, will be attending our event. Other prominent guests have been invited and we look forward to seeing as many of them as possible. Flyers have been printed and handed out by Jenny, Julian, So-Shan, Ann and Tim at the recent Surbiton Farmers Market; posters and signs have been created and placed along the promenade.New members
This month saw a record 5 new members joining QPF. A big hello to Sharon, Abu, Leonid, John J and John Wwho all recently signed up to join our community. Please do come down on one of our volunteering days. We hope you enjoy it. Abu has already volunteered on a few occasions and is fast proving to be a tremendous addition to our volunteering team. Good to have you on board!
Last but not least
If other members haven’t worked with us for a while, or always wanted to but never quite found the time, please don’t be shy. Keen interest, some skills and energy are all that is needed. Please bring some gardening gloves and a mug. We hope you enjoy it.
Please remember to check our various social media sites for regular updates, links shown below. For any donations to the Queen’s Promenade Friends group, please get in touch or use our QR code. Should you wish to make a small regular direct debit contribution, please do get in touch by replying to this email.
Looking forward to seeing you on the Promenade.