FoEP: Improving the Park for the benefit of the whole community
Many of you will be aware that, early in August, Vic Smith, Chair of the FoEP, suffered a mild heart attack. He was taken to hospital where a stent was inserted in one of the arteries supplying his heart. He was put on medication and told that he needed to have another angiogram later in the year. He has recently had that angiogram and it was not necessary for him to have another stent put in. He is now making good progress and should soon be able to resume normal activities. However, over the summer, Vic was not able to do all the things in the Park he wanted to do. But this does not mean that the Park was neglected by the FoEP! Other FoEP members, including Chris Freeman, Jo Tear, Mary Hamilton and Carole Morrison, have been working hard to improve the Park. Chris and Jo have been particularly busy adding wood chippings to the pathway that runs through Lakeview Spinney from the Skiddaw Walk entrance to the Booth Lane entrance; Chris and Mary have been working on the garden on the 'back' of the Crescent Rock Garden (the side facing the open parkland), digging it over and planting daffodils; Carole has been doing her regular litter picking but also cutting back the vegetation along the north-facing fence between Eleonore House and the Park. Some of these activities are illustrated in the following photographs:
Click pictures for larger view.
These photographs illustrate the trouble that members of the FoEP take to improve the Park for all its legitimate users. It is rather upsetting, though, when people walk over areas we have planted or let their dogs dig up or mess in places we are developing as gardens. We realise that this may be done in ignorance so we are putting up signs asking people to take extra care in these areas. We want everybody to enjoy the Park, including our volunteers, but there is nothing enjoyable about getting dogs mess on your hands when planting or weeding (even if you are wearing gloves). It can also be very disappointing when planted areas are dug up or trampled down. So, please take extra care around our garden areas, and please, please, do not take any of the plants home, however nice they look. Thank you!
The Seeded Meadow originated as a narrow wildflower border along the north-facing fence between Eleonore House and the Park in 2015 (see 1st picture, below). In spring, 2017, a large semi-circular area in front of the fence was seeded with a commercial mix containing meadow grasses and wildflowers, the original grasses having been poisoned the previous autumn. The sowing had only limited success and the area became colonised with a mix of plants from the original wildflower border, meadow plants already present in the Park and common weeds, as well as plants from the seed mix (see 2nd picture, below). This year, the meadow had a better balance of plants but, as in 2017, large areas were dominated by chicory which grew very tall. The meadow was attractive to pollinators) but it received a mixed reception from residents, some of whom took a particular dislike to the chicory. When the contractors cut the meadow at the end of the season, a strip of mainly chicory was left against the Eleonore House fence. It is currently being cut down by FoEP volunteers (see 3rd picture, below).
The Chair of the FoEP is now suggesting that the seeded meadow could be redeveloped as a wildflower garden. Instead of a wide mix of grasses and wildflowers (such as might be found in a natural meadow), the area could be planted with carefully selected wildflowers with possibly a few grass species. Such a garden would need continuous maintenance to prevent it from becoming colonised by other plants (especially those introduced in previous seasons). The garden may be too large to be maintained by the available volunteers so it is recommended that it be divided into sectors. Each year, some sectors could be maintained but others could be left uncultivated to see what develops. This would be no worse than the present situation and could be much better. A possible layout for a new garden is shown in the following diagram:
Chris and Jo load wheelbarrows with wood chippings.
Chris & Jo rake chippings evenly over path.
Jo empties chippings onto path.
Work done by Chris & Mary on the 'back' of the Crescent Rock Garden.
Eleonore House north-facing fence in July, 2015.
Eleonore House north-facing fence in Nov., 2018.
Eleonore House north-facing fence and Seeded Meadow in August, 2017.