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Newsletter – May 2024

Newsletter – May 2024

Dear Friends,

April stunned us in several ways: on one side, most gorgeously, our intense autumn bulb planting has borne magnificent fruit; what a colourful display of daffodils and tulips, in some places floating on carpets of blue forget-me-nots. Above it all, the cherry blossoms added their own sprinkle of spring joy. It stopped many a promenader in their tracks, admiring the beauty and, naturally, with smart phone at the ready to share it with their friends.

On the other side, most annoyingly, the heart and soul that volunteers put into the prom, has again been so disappointingly abused. I for one struggle to understand why someone rips out freshly planted perennials. A cost-of-living crisis does not justify that public goods, provided by the community, end up decorating a private garden. It is theft, and noticed by us. As before, however, we will dust ourselves off and move on.

April highlights

Our much-anticipated bandstand arch, expertly created by Tom Hooker, was delivered and installed in the Bandstand Garden. It was truly a team project, from initial planning and discussions, to seeking Tom’s advice, to obtaining RBK Council consent, to finally installing it. So many thanks to everyone who lent a hand and prodded the project along; it is fair to say the prom has a new feature. Is there anyone better to judge its impact than kids, little or grown-up, seen exploring it all and making it their own? Come off the tarmac and go for a stroll through the woods! More planting will be added so that another successful scheme comes together.

Glendale helped organise another load of wood chip from ATS; thank you Andy, also for your arch delivery and loggery services this month! The wood chips were extremely handy to beef up the woodland trail, the winding path in River View Garden and areas in the Pocket Park. We’ll finish the northern trail end over the next few weeks with a harmonious entrance point.

Phil has, together with Michael, designed and built another compost bay. Whenever we work ‘north of Palace Road’, we can now fill our green waste in this new area in Figgy Garden, rather than carting it back to the compost bays around the Pocket Park. Phil, your enthusiasm, skill and hard going perseverance are exemplary. “Douze points” as they say at Eurovision.

Prom volunteering now often evolves around creating new things but, occasionally, old stuff breaks and needs to be renewed. The caretaker’s hut in the Pocket Park had its collapsed drain pipe repaired. A big thank you goes to Rob and Adam at RBK’s Green Spaces team, for organising the Dynorod team. All’s well that ends well, as the saying goes.

The notorious Spaghetti Junction has seen the triangle section cleared of its noxious bindweed. We’ll monitor regrowth, it will inevitably come back in places, but the hard graft is done. Many hands were involved, over three months, to get to this stage – thank you all. As interim, we’ve sown wildflower seeds so that the area isn’t all too bare during summer, but the real long-term planting has to wait until next year. And there is the much larger area around the Queen’s maple tree still to be rid of its own bindweed problem …

Sadly, we had to say good-bye to Bella and Esther, who spent the last three months with us volunteering as part of their Duke of Edinburgh awards. It was fantastic to witness their gentle curiosity and can-do attitude. Both have gained a better understanding of the cycle of nature and gardening, proper use and maintenance of tools, and the spirit of a community project. May I also thank Pauline for her warm-hearted dedication to making their time enjoyable and valuable with us.

May in focus at QPF

How are your sunflower seedlings doing? Cold and gloomy April has perhaps not helped giving them a strong start, but there is still a month to go before planting-out day. With spring now hopefully staying for good, and the weather getting warmer and sunnier, we have provisionally set Saturday 1 June. Bring your sunflowers down to the Pocket Park on or before the day, we’ll plant them out together in certain areas along the promenade.

Spring is peak time for weeding, and pruning of certain shrubs that will flower next spring on this year’s growth. In order to avoid incorrect and unnecessary cuts, can all volunteers who’d like to tend to shrubs along the prom please check first if pruning efforts are needed and how to best apply? Just check in with any committee member if unsure, we all live and learn. Thank you.

A date for your diaries, if interested: Kingston Association for the Blind are holding a Volunteer Celebration Event at the Kingston Museum, to say thanks for help provided for the Queen’s Prom audio guided walk. KAB have arranged exclusive access to sample the Bloomberg Connects trail around the museum, to be followed by nibbles and drinks. Bring your mobile phone to scan the various QR codes along the trail. Tuesday 4 June, 2-4pm at the Kingston Museum. If you are interested, please would you RSVP to adminkab@kingstonassociationforblind.org by 27 May.

New joiners

A warm welcome to Kerry, Lucinda and Nicola who recently signed up to join our community. If you would like to volunteer with us, please come to the Pocket Park during our volunteering sessions, Wednesdays 14 – 17 hrs and Saturdays 10 – 13 hrs.

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.

Last but not least

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

Chair, Queen’s Promenade Friends

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