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Newsletter December 2023

Newsletter December 2023

Dear Friends,

November has been a wet month, so wet indeed that we had to abandon prom work on a few occasions. Otherwise, the theme of the month was “Awards and Bulbs”, more below. We also got together for our AGM which is always a timely reminder that the end of the year is around the corner. And so you are also about to read the last newsletter of 2023. May I take this opportunity to thank all volunteers, friends and supporters for an incredible year and wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

November highlights

November is the perfect time to get spring bulbs into the ground. We have been doing so for a few years, creating colourful displays such as our tulip ring in River View. This year we added a staggering 4,000 bulbs, they went into the following gardens: Italian (750), Bandstand (300), River View (250), Raven’s View (1,000), Sensory (500), Catherine (1,000) and Woodland (200). Quite a few of the daffodils and tulips were donated by Graham, head gardener at Hampton Court, who has been very supportive and generous. The prom will bloom fabulously in spring, thank you! And clever how Val combined bulb planting with an elegant downward dog pose, see below. 😊

We held our Annual General Meeting at the London River Yacht Club this year as our sprightly mural on the building got us much closer to the people behind that blue façade. Preparing the event gave me a lot of pleasure when reviewing our many projects, achievements and recognitions, all captured in myriad pictures and reels. It was an incredible year for us all, and for the prom’s further transformation, thanks to your continued enthusiasm and elbow grease. A personal thank-you also to our supporters, social media followers, councillors and council staff, and critically everyone who donated to our efforts, in small or large amounts! We have some specific plans for 2024 which I’m sure we’ll bring to life. This year’s guest speaker Laura Nee of the Thames Landscape Strategy gave us a fascinating and thought-provoking overview of the river’s development through the ages and the many challenges that modernity has brought to it.

The next day saw a group of us turn the Kingston Society Townscape Award ceremony into a sea of yellow. QPF won in the new People’s Choice category, apparently by hundreds of votes. This award came our way through local residents voting online, it is a strong endorsement by the community for a community group. If that is not a reason to be thrilled, then what is?!  Of course, it is a major pat on our collective QPF back and an encouragement to keep going.

Aside from bulbing and cheering, we started to compile some bug hotels from tree logs in Woodland Garden. ATS Tree Services have kindly delivered some leftovers from their daily work for us. We’ll keep adding so that native wildlife finds a new home here soon.

Finally, preparations have commenced on a few new projects. Val and Don kindly offered to transport some donated pallets to the Pocket Park and Michael has already made a start putting the compost sections together. Many of us also started with preparations for the extensions to Raven’s View Garden and the Italian Garden. Sadly, it revealed again just how much rubbish has accumulated underneath shrubs, thoughtlessly chucked over the cycle fence. Just clearing a 2-metre section brought up umpteen bottles, cans, Styrofoam boxes, broken glass, plastic wrapping, even a 1980ies cassette tape. What else will we unearth I wonder?

December in focus at QPF

With the frosty weather coming early again, we’ll have to adjust what we can and can’t do. Clearance work can commence but work on plants should not. The to-do list on the noticeboard has just been updated.

A group of volunteers will be enjoying Christmas at Kew on Tuesday 5 December, we are looking forward to this special light extravaganza which is a nice recognition of our efforts and link to Kew Gardens this year.

As in previous years, we will also have a volunteers’ Christmas party in the Pocket Park. The mulled wine is already in store, and a date will be circulated soon. Look out for the announcement and bring some (homemade?) biscuits and nibbles, and a cheerful hat?

New joiners

Year-end invites you to take stock. We have welcomed 23 new joiners over the year and our membership has now grown to 137. Quite a few of those have also become frequent active volunteers, such as Pauline, Ceci, Vivienne, Lindsey, Archie and dad Simon, Gregory as well as the three Gerzons (Leo, Masha and Dasha). I am glad you find our group inspiring and stick with us, may the QPF family grow.

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. For any donations to the Queen’s Promenade Friends please see our QR code below or contact us directly.

Looking forward to seeing you on the promenade.

Stefan

Chairman, Queen’s Promenade Friends

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