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Newsletter November 2023

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Newsletter November 2023

Dear Friends,

The clocks have gone back, it feels immediately darker and it’s certainly very wet out there. A favourite time to witness the promenade cover itself in autumn colours once more. There are still quite a few plants defying the season and boasting their colours, just look at the proud salvias Amistad and Icing Sugar, penstemons, geraniums, gauras, cannas and even some die-hard roses. A last hoorah before most of it goes dormant.

October highlights

We have planted up not one, but two new gardens. The oval flower beds in the Bandstand Garden have received over 100 perennials, a collection of ornamental grasses for screening plus lavenders, penstemons, sanguisorbas, agastaches, salvias, asters and others: a mix of shades in red and blue. The plants have been generously funded by Surbiton Farmers Market, many thanks Natasha! Next month we will be adding a medley of daffodils to sing a spring song with the crocuses in the Bandstand lawn.

For the first time in decades, the bare and sloping raised bed opposite the Sensory Garden, now named Catherine Garden, is covered in a blanket of plants, hopefully ending the soil erosion. Vivienne compiled a suitable choice of colourful and drought-tolerant perennials, all planted on a sunny Saturday morning. Our volunteer session was superbly filmed and photographed by So-Shan who turned the footage into a firework reel, a must-watch here: Facebook. Tulip bulbs will be added next month and, with a nod to the garden’s name, we’ll arrange them in the form of colour-coordinated Catherine wheels. Our gratitude is with the Surbiton Rotary Club who provided us with the means to buy the plants, many thanks Ian! By the way, all perennials are UK grown and have been sourced from Coblands Nursery, where I met an industrious team of gardeners, managed by the delightful and energetic Jo.

On 18 Oct, the prestigious Kingston Society announced that our community project at the Queen’s Promenade won their Townscape Award in the new People’s Choice category. It is a wonderful accolade provided by residents’ votes who clearly enjoy the promenade’s transformation brought about by our volunteers. We are thrilled by this recognition. Please see the official announcement here: Townscape Awards – Winners Announced – Kingston upon Thames Society ( The Awards Evening will be held on 15 Nov and we will be sure to turn out in force.

Aside from plants and prizes, we also turned our gaze to our feathered friends who, with the colder season upon us, need our attention and help again. We keep our bird feeders topped up and a number of bird boxes were inspected, cleaned and rehung along the prom.

Our newly resuscitated compost has taken its first deliveries, and more will come as local resident and volunteer Tim Leunig has kindly made available his unused shredder. That will enable us to compost more green waste which otherwise would have to be carted away by Glendale. Thanks a lot Tim!

The Pocket Park is open to all when we volunteer. Curious passers-by regularly pop in to find out about our community group and meet the team. The new smooth path now sees wheelchair users safely access without hurdles; even mobile scooters have found their way in. Equally, artists enjoy the tranquillity and different angle of a river view, they are welcome to follow their hobby with us. Recently, Eleni and Evy from the Kingston School of Art visited and showed us their talents. We enjoyed it, please do come back!

November in focus at QPF

With the clocks having changed, we are also switching our volunteering times to our winter timetable:

  • Wednesdays 13:00 – 16:00

  • Saturdays 10:00 – 13:00

November will be busy for us. To start with, we have ongoing gardening work to do in our various garden areas. In addition, as has become a tradition for QPF, we will be planting up to 3,000 spring bulbs, mainly daffodils and tulips. It will need to be done over several volunteer sessions.

Final notice about our upcoming Annual General Meeting which will be held in the London River Yacht Club (which displays our fab mural!) on Tuesday, 14 November, from 7pm. If you haven’t done so already, could you please advise by return email if you plan to attend so we can manage numbers (seats and food). Thank you.

The next day, Wednesday 15 November, we will attend the Kingston Society’s Townscape Awards Presentation. It will be held at the Judge Lecture Theatre, Tiffin School, Kingston KT2 6RL, starting at 7:30pm. It is a public event and everyone is welcome.

  • Though not an immediate QPF focus, but certainly related, I wanted to bring to your attention that RBK council is running further public consultations on the final design and implementation aspects of the following Kingston green spaces:

New joiners

A warm welcome to Kirsty and Masha who recently signed up to join our community. Please do come to one of our volunteer sessions and find out more. We hope you enjoy our group and work. Anyone else who feels the urge to help improve the prom and enjoy our community spirit, please do come too.

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.


Chairman, Queen’s Promenade Friends

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