We began 2016 as we ended 2015 – encouraging the local community to recycle their Christmas cards. We collected so many it took several trips to get them all to Marks & Spencer’s special collection points.
In January 2016, Queens Park Community Council (QPCC) agreed to appoint a third party (HCGA) as part of an enhanced management plan, to assist in management of QPG in 2016. HCGA focus is on increasing use of the gardens and community participation in activities. They run a gardening session every week to which FQPG members also occasionally participate in. FQPG have benefitted from HCGA HCGA advice, joint activities (crocus bulb planting), help from the Task Force and HCGA contacts with local schools (one of which is now using the area).
April brought Spring to us and we had a wonderful session sewing seeds in the meadow but the most wonderful event this month was, after years of neglect, the beetle loggery was renovated. Building contractors working in Parry Road on the Mozart Estate asked if they could help us with anything and we jumped at the chance. They also helped and advised on work in the dog run and we were very grateful.
In June we joined in the Queen’s birthday celebrations at St John’s Church by joining in their Flower Festival.
In the Wildlife Area, June brought wet and warm weather which was ideal conditions for the meadow to flourish.
Our biggest project of the year was to make a woodland walk through the trees. Two tree maintenance companies were kind enough to donate logs and help us cut them up. After we had pruned the vigorous ivy and trimmed the hazel trees to clear a path, we have Ray to thank for the hard work of digging the logs in. Astrid and Ray also collected and spread some small stones around the stumps to keep the path clear.
We also had the benefit of some HCGA teams who helped thin some of the unwieldy trees and do heavy stuff like turning the compost heaps. We have Cathy and Ulla to thank for organising that.
As always, August brought the Summer Festival and it was another great success. We set up our base in the Wildlife Area and talked to the local residents about our latest projects. We also asked people to comment on our Development Plan.
Ulla and the HCGA began afternoon sessions through the school holidays and have continued this great success into Easter 2017 and the warmer half-term holidays.
At the end of summer, we planted more bluebells and wild garlic, and generally prepared the area for winter.
We were very proud to win an award at London in Bloom this year.
Ray successfully gained the support of Queen’s Park Community Council to join in the citizens science air pollution project. We hope to install the monitors next year.
One last beautiful project in the autumn was to join Ulla and Cathy with HCGA to plant a heart shape of crocus bulbs. You will be able to see photos of them in bloom in the 2017 blog.
November brought the usual firework display which had a record attendance in 2016.
That just left leaf clearing and wood pruning until the Winter Fair.
Our participation in the Gardens Winter Festival, included a winter tree identification competition for adults and children which went down well with a chocolate bug gift to everyone who took part.
Continental Landscapes have assisted with various requests such as provision of new willow whips, wildflower seed, chain sawing logs to make stepping stones and provision of a litter bin. Sadly, the willow dome was badly vandalised by nature will keep it looking good.
Until August 2015 the Wildlife Area was kept locked. After a successful trial period in August 2015, the Wildlife Area was opened to the public every Saturday and Sunday. Since Autumn 2015 it has been open every day of the week.
Two local pre-school groups continue to use the area on a weekly basis with excellent reports and one has increased the amount of time they spend in the area. HCGA have been in negotiation with Queens Park School who are now also using the area for education and recreational purposes.
Our Facebook and Twitter accounts have gone from strength to strength and we had a good response to our request for input on our development plan, the outcome of which we hope to put into place in 2017, funds permitting.
Vandalism and antisocial behaviour continue to be an issue throughout QPG. Sadly, the Willow dome suffered a lot of damage (all the new willow whips were vandalised) and litter continues to be a problem (including bottles and occasionally condoms).
FQPG has been actively involved with Continental and the police and other parties to address this. Input on improvement we could make within the Wildlife Area was received by a representative of Royal Parks who visited. Structural changes in the area have included improving lines of sight both within and into the Wildlife Area. Continental have also installed a litter bin within the area that is used although this hasn’t eliminated litter.