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Newsletter – May 2023

Dear Friends,

I just read the other day that we had the driest February in 30 years, the wettest March in 40 years and a colder than average April. This topsy-turvy weather has challenged many gardeners but certainly not dented our enthusiasm for the promenade. The fruits of our labour are impressively on show, the now famous tulip ring coupled with the new white-and-purple tulip parade in River View Garden have been photographed umpteen times.

So many positive comments from promenaders keep flooding in and they remain the strongest encouragement we could ask for. With that our treasurer has also acknowledged a noticeable increase in individual public donations using our QR code. We are very grateful for every show of gratitude, not to forget last year’s successful crowdfunding for the Italian Garden. A BIG THANK YOU to everyone who shows their appreciation for our collective efforts! Here are some recent Twitter comments:

April highlights

We have further expanded the planting in the Woodland Garden and added a fourth ornamental cherry tree, next to the ones kindly donated and planted by volunteer Janette Douglas in February. On the theme of donated ornamental cherries, another one has been donated and planted by Neil Brown and his children, this one now graces the very spot next to the band stand that his late wife so loved.

Our new Raven’s View Garden has had a whirlwind makeover this month. A strong group of our volunteers cleared the long and narrow site, straightened its edges and removed tricky roots. It was then planted up with over 200 site specific and drought tolerant perennials. We hope they settle in well and produce a delightful border this summer. Well done team!

Not every volunteering session is filled with work on large projects. In fact, often enough we maintain the existing gardens, weeding being a continuous job, sweeping paths and under benches. We keep saying that we work come rain or shine, so much so that only a horrendous hailstorm stopped work one Wednesday afternoon.

May in focus

The Sensory Garden project will be the main focus this month. You may have noticed that work has already started on the mural on the yacht club building. The base coat is applied, and interest was piqued when late one evening a son-et-lumiere show was projected onto the wall. This allowed Harriet and Sunnie of studioA to draw the outline of the design. We wish them a steady hand, and no rain, over the next weeks to complete their painting.
As soon as that is done we will start with the ground work, for which we have hired a turf cutter for 17 May. Once the grass layer has been removed, we will place a bench, create a woodchip path and plant up this latest of our gardens. 

Below is a graphic vision of the beautiful Art Deco inspired design of both walls.

Coronation Weekend: As most of us will be watching the coronation on Saturday 6 May, we will be moving our volunteering session to Monday 8 May. That way we will be participating in one of the coronation celebrations, the BIG HELP OUT. A few months ago we started a sunflower growing campaign, which has gripped many volunteers and some members of the public. Some of us seem to have more success than others though (those pesky slugs and pigeons!) but we now know the real secret to sunflower growing success is playing the guitar to them … Large or small, we will plant them in a sunny spot on the Prom for the community to enjoy.

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 uncovered until six months ago. PROMTASTIC! takes place at 2:30pm on Sunday 25 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.

New members

A big hello to Peter and Spela who recently signed up to join our community, please do come down on one of our volunteering days. We hope you enjoy it. Last but definitely not least, a big welcome back to Vivienne who, after a year’s absence due to personal circumstances, has come back and already worked with us on some volunteering days. We very much value your excellent company and skills.

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, how about that New Year’s QPF Resolution? 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
Chairman

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