Newsletter October 2023
We do care about the promenade, a lot. We also care about many other things. Phil and his wife Stella have organised another fantastic fundraiser cake bake for MacMillan Cancer Support. It tickled many a taste bud, raised a substantial amount for an important cause and brought communities together. Hard to think of a better example for caring and nurturing. Cecilia also displayed her water colour talent. Such joy and pride, well done all!
September has delivered what was on short supply throughout summer: warmth and sunshine. It meant the Big Yellow uncurled a few times to refill our water butts and keep plants alive. If only we could find an easier way to quench the thirst of our plants, but I hear that Glendale is looking into options to help, hopefully making 2024 a bit easier for those of us on watering duty. Failing that, we shall hire the little fellow who one morning lent a helping hand, an hour later soaked to the skin and happy as Larry. ?
The new flower beds in the Bandstand Garden are now fully prepped, with last few brambles and bamboo shoots removed and soil enriched with compost (more of that later). We’ll do an autumn planting so roots can settle in while the soil is still warm. The same will happen further along the prom in our new Catherine Garden, right opposite the Sensory Garden.
Other routine work continues, be that applying a new protective varnish coat to our restored benches, removing a lot of pesky and rather destructive weeds along the barge walk, adding more plants to the Italian Garden, trimming the overbearing ivy hedge along the yacht club fence, collecting wildflower seeds for next year, pruning bay and repairing winter cover for our potted plants. Thanks to all who rolled up their sleeves!
On the theme of pesky weeds, with increasing impatience we have been watching a forest of them take over a large area along them prom, choking trees planted not that long ago incl the Mayor’s Queen Elizabeth Maple. It is a textbook lesson of what happens if our urban green spaces are neglected. Although not an area under QPF management, patience eventually ran out and a whole gang of us went down to beat them back. The invaders had grown man-high hiding rubbish incl a rusty pram! The sterling effort generated piles of weeds and spaghetti-like mounds of bindweed roots, now waiting for collection. Please, RBK and Glendale, this should not be allowed to get out of hand again.
The annual Friends’ Forum was held in the Guildhall, providing a platform for all Kingston based friends groups to network and discuss ideas for the future. QPF was even given a slot to present our own journey to becoming a strong and impactful voluntary organisation. So-Shan, Clive and Julian presented us and came back with quite a shopping list of ideas. Perhaps the most important plan is for all friends groups to club together with regular meetings, thereby developing meaningful action plans to be taken to RBK Council. We will certainly bring QPF into the mix.
Did you know that the UK ranks as low as 189th in biodiversity worldwide with 1 in 6 species at risk of extinction? Mandated by legislation, RBK has launched its new Biodiversity Action Plan at a public event held at the new university Town House. It’s a rainbow of ambitions hoping to make Kingston a leading borough in this field. Various speakers gave examples of activities already under way and no doubt we’ll hear more of it next year. Go check it all out under www.kingston.gov.uk/biodiversity-kingston. With quite some foresight, this crucial topic was already made centre stage in our own constitution when QPF was set up. To this end, we have several bird feeders and a bug hotel in the Pocket Park, and along the prom a few loggeries, a wildflower area, a long wildlife hedge and new pollinator friendly planting schemes. More is to come next year.
In a somewhat related way, we must make better use of our own compost. We have a dedicated area inside and outside the Pocket Park for that very purpose. Over the past few weeks, Jenny has painstakingly and patiently scooped out a dozen or so bags of well-rotted compost which is now applied to our planting areas. We also regularly generate quite a bit of green waste only to be carted off by Glendale. With the help of a shredder, we could generate significantly more compost on site, thereby enriching the prom’s soil structure and ecosystem and reducing Glendale’s workload. Surely a win-win. Any ideas out there how we could get our hands on an appropriate shredder?
With all that activity during Sustainable September, aimed at awareness around sustainability in the widest sense, I can’t help but thinking that a critical factor is missing in this kaleidoscope of good intentions. It is the people who make it all happen and those many good hearts, souls and muscles need to be nurtured to be sustainable. Hence, on a sunny Saturday out came the bunting for a QPF Fest. We brought along homemade goodies and drinks in our very own style, to celebrate all the QPF volunteers who keep the ship sailing. With all your contributions, the prom and its community has become a better and indeed sustainable place again. THANK YOU!
October in focus at QPF
We’ll be carrying out some autumn planting in the Bandstand and Catherine Gardens. The weather Is still clement and the soil warm for plants to settle in for next year. We are also preparing to get spring bulbs and hope to be adding to our magnificent daffodil and tulip displays planted up in previous years.
A notice has gone out to all members advising of 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 already, could you please advise by return email if you plan to attend so we can manage numbers. Thank you.
A warm welcome to Gregory who recently signed up to join our community; he has already worked with us. We hope you enjoy our community and work. 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 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 down on the promenade.
Chairman, Queen’s Promenade Friends