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Newsletter August 2023

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Newsletter – August 2023

Dear Friends,

After our whirlwind first half year, it felt right to lean back a bit to take stock. The prom is looking good and, judging by the steady flow of public feedback, enjoyed by so many residents. Our new gardens have settled in well and notes are taken how to develop them further next year.

Whilst our group’s focus obviously centres on gardening, there are still new discoveries about our volunteers’ hobbies and talents. Three cheers to Cecilia who, having moved here from abroad just a few months ago, amazes us again and again with her superb watercolours, whether of our plants or promenade areas. Simply fantastic and keep them coming Ceci!

July highlights

The Green Flag flies over the Pocket Park! The Queen’s Promenade and our volunteers’ group have been awarded the highly prestigious Green Flag Community Award. The Green Flag Award®️ scheme recognises and rewards well managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for the management of recreational outdoor spaces across the United Kingdom and around the world. This is another first for us and celebrates our achievement in putting pride back into the prom. Well done everyone involved, especially Graham who organised it!

The new path in the Pocket Park was laid at the beginning of the month. It is a huge improvement of what we had before, looks the part, and makes access for everyone so much easier. Recent rain has also shown its permeability works a treat.

Routine gardening work has continued to maintain our green space, be that weeding, composting, pruning and general maintenance. While the Looker family is away on holidays, we have also looked after Tynamara Gardens next to Ginger Bees café to keep the regrowth of invasive sumac in check and free new plants from smothering weeds.

Clearance work in our new Bandstand Garden is continuing. The raised seating area already looks more inviting by letting in light and the severely overgrown area to its left is getting ready for its new look. Clive is co-ordinating its makeover; he is preparing an outline design and is asking for volunteers’ inspiration and planting ideas. Please get in touch with him.

Coincidentally, local historian Dr David Kennedy has recently undertaken some research into this particular area which has revealed its rich history; it has also confirmed our initial inkling that the raised seating area was indeed built and used as a bandstand in Victorian days. See his fascinating article here: Microsoft Word – THE BAND STAND ON QUEEN.docx (kingstonhistoryresearch.co.uk)

As mentioned earlier, I reflected a bit on how our gardens are developing overall, particularly the new ones created in spring. Here is what each is revealing:

  • The Italian Garden has very poor sandy soil in its terraces, with some hypericum and sumac roots still lurking beneath. The planting scheme was chosen to cope with an exposed dry site, yet some plants still struggle whilst the vast majority though has settled in well. The garden will expand and fill out further next year.
  • All new plants have taken well in Raven’s View Garden (apart from those which, without our permission, found new homes in other people’s gardens). This area will establish further as we’ll be adding yet more colour for next year.
  • The planting in the Sensory Garden has developed surprisingly well despite it being an exposed and windy site on very compacted soil. Particularly strong showings have come from our river of salvias and agastache (wonderfully taken over by masses of bees and butterflies) and islands of achilleas and rudbeckias. Next year we’ll be adding ground cover herbs such as oregano and thyme to further enhance its sensory appeal.
  • Our festival of sunflowers is at its peak. Visioned by So-Shan and enthusiastically carried out by so many volunteers and residents in spring, the range of size and colour is mesmerising. It got the community talking and admiring and brought fireworks of bright sparks to our prom. I can see a repeat coming up next year.

August in focus at QPF

Work will continue in the new Bandstand Garden. Please do get in touch with Clive who is preparing next steps such as an overall design layout, planting scheme and any other aspects.Our group has been invited by the organisers of the Hampton Court Flower Show to arrange a display for next year’s event. It would be in the Community Allotment area, a section which is gaining in prominence. As the flower show is visited by tens of thousands of gardening afficionados, this would be a high-profile opportunity to showcase QPF and the promenade. The planning process kicks off soon and we’d need to form a working group to start with. Please would you get in touch if you consider this a good idea and if you’d like to be involved? Feedback here

With his treasurer’s hat on, Graham has proposed and the Committee decided regarding purchases on behalf of QPF that, going forward, for other than small items such as tea and biscuits, larger expense items be pre-approved by the Chair (Stefan) and informed to the Treasurer (Graham) ahead of purchase and reimbursement. This is good discipline and helps with overall budgeting and expense management. Many thanks!

We are in discussion with RBK Council to see how some structural repairs can be organised along the promenade. This would include the retaining wall which has deteriorated or collapsed in places, the fence along the cycle path, the bandstand and the dilapidated toilet block. Individually and taken together, these are quite material repairs and will take time, but we hope that we can get this going for the benefit of our neighbourhood and residents.

New joiners

A big hello to LindseyTim and Archie (plus dad Simon) who recently signed up to join our community, please do come down on one of our volunteering days if you haven’t already done so. We hope you enjoy it. Anyone else who feels the urge to help improve the prom and enjoy our community spirit, please do come down on one of our volunteering days.Last but not leastIf 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.

Stefan
Chair

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