Preston Open Day – how unlucky can you get?

Preston Open Day was so open it let all the rain in – probably the first we’d had in a month or so. This may have been good for the grass but no good for the picnic. Thanks for those volunteers and helpers shown here who braved the weather for an hour or so before we gave up on outside activities.

Consolation was a visit from the High Sheriff of East Sussex, Maureen Chowan, second right, who joined us for the Open Day and made us all feel special. Sorry we couldn’t have provided more of a spectacle but this is England and we take these setbacks on the chin.

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Preston Open Day – 24th June, 11-4

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The last time Albion were promoted to the top division

If you were one of the estimated 100,000 who attended the Albion’s Victory Parade last Sunday, you may be interested to know of our own very local connection.

Former Albion star Andy Rollings has been the proprietor of the Chalet Cafe in Preston Park since the mid-1980s. Andy was a centre back the last time Albion were promoted to the top tier of English football, back in 1979, playing under manager Alan Mullery and alongside such stars as Mark Lawrenson. The parallels are interesting because Albion had only just failed to get promoted the previous season and then sealed their triumph with a win at Newcastle. Andy was on the bus on the victory parade in 1979 – and then invited on to the stage last Sunday along with other Albion stars of the past.

Andy was amazed at the turn out on Sunday and the sea of blue and white. ‘Just like being back at the Goldstone’ he reflected.

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Focus on Andy Jevons

Our Roving Reporter popped into the Rock Garden and conducted this interview:

Q. Hi Andy, would you tell me your job title?

A. Garden Manager, Rock Garden.

Q. Is it called the Rock Garden, the Rookery or the Rockery? Which is it?

A. It’s called the Rock Garden. The Rookery is the area in which the garden sits.

Q. How long have you worked as a member of park staff?

A. I joined in 1982 as a trainee. I completed my apprenticeship and worked in the nursery at Stanmer. I left for 5 years and rejoined 18 years ago – I’ve been in this post ever since.

Q. What is it you like about working here?

A. I like the chance to grow a fantastic range of plants from a variety of regions – and the chance to put my own stamp on the garden. And I enjoy working outside as a gardener. I remember I was on a garden design course at Plumpton College once, and my gaze kept drifting from the classroom towards the trees outside – that was where I wanted to be really. I hated being indoors!

Q. What are the things that frustrate you about the job?

A. Lack of respect for the garden from a minority. I see new planting trampled and unsupervised dogs creating havoc. At the moment, there are two ducks which are devastating the pond – they’re eating all the tadpoles and mini-beasts. It’s a real shame because those are the things that the kids like to see.

Q. What would you like to see for the future in the Rock Garden?

A. I’d like to see all the plants labelled. And to see the planting turn out exactly as I’d planned it! At the moment there are plans to re-do the area at the top of the wildflower bank: to take out some overgrown conifers and replace them with a more vibrant planting scheme. The scheme could include things like acers and possibly Italian cypresses.

Q. Do you have any help in the garden?

A. I have a team of up to 9 volunteers who are the icing on the cake in this garden – they really are fab! I also have occasional help from Community Payback teams, people from local businesses such as American Express plus occasional help from local colleges.

Q. What are you the most proud of in the garden Andy?

A. I’m most proud of the planting scheme that generates colour from February to November: bulbs, shrubs, herbaceous plants and trees all providing successive colour. Colour makes people happy!

Thank you Andy. Lots to see at the moment in the Rock Garden, especially good is the wildflower bank which is covered in cowslips. And the wildlife there is very rich. Make sure you say Hi to Andy.

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Nature update

Butterflies seen recently around the Rock Garden and the Walled Garden include orangetips, brimstones, peacocks, common blues and small whites. Let us know if you spot any more varieties.

Brimstone butterfly

We were thrilled to hear of a sighting of treecreeper birds in the trees in woodland walk – quite near the playground. They usually hang out in the elms by the main road but haven’t been seen for a while. Mind you, they’re hard to spot. They are tiny, have long, slender down-curved bills and are speckly brown in colour. As the name suggests, they cling on to the bark and creep around the trunks of trees looking for insects. Here’s a pic of one:

Treecreeper

You may have noticed that the newts in the Rotunda pond are busy breeding at the moment. Please leave them be – I know it’s tempting for children to play with them, but it’s important that they remain undisturbed. Same with dogs really – not good for the poor old newts when dogs go splashing through the pond! A notice has been ordered to ask that the newts be left alone; we’re hoping that it will be erected soon.

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Winners of the drawing competition

Helena, age 4 (isn’t she great!)

Betty, age 10

Jimmy, age 8

 

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Pictures from the Easter event

Here’s Otto – he was the first one to complete the hunt successfully

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Easter Egg Hunt 2017

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Parking update

You may very well know by now that parking in the park is back to normal, thank goodness.

The parking areas are no longer choked with vehicles that really ought not to be there, like commuters’ cars and traders’ vans. It’s good for Preston Park because all the money from parking charges is ring-fenced for the benefit of the park. The new signage makes the charging clear and paying by phone is pretty painless.

Here’s a few pics, including one which describes the restrictions of the Public Spaces Protection Order. That notice is worth a look.

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HEMA lads

Last Tuesday’s beautiful day brought out tennis players, walkers, parents with buggies . . . and these gents. They were practising HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts) on the pétanque court. The looked very impressive and fearsome as they wielded their swords, and attracted several onlookers.

Thanks to Leo, Edmund and Etienne. (Hope your knuckles hurt a little less now.)

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