Wreath-making event – 21st December

prestdecs

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Nature notes

The first few days of December have carried the first winter chill, and the park reflects this change of season. Most trees have now lost their leaves, the roses in the Rose Garden have had a ‘hard prune’, and of course the wildflowers down by the Rotunda Cafe are just a distant memory. But the compensation for Preston Park birdwatchers is that many birds are now much easier to see. For example, at this time of the year, Jays are more conspicuous as they forage for acorns, which are then cached as winter food. Nationally there has been an influx of Jays from the continent in recent weeks, and Preston Park has benefited from this. In the last week, there has also been an increase in Pied Wagtails in the park – they are an attractive small black and white bird – and they wag their tails as their name suggests!

Talking of birds that are mostly black and white, Great Spotted Woodpeckers are much easier to see at this time of the year. You won’t hear their characteristic drumming for a couple of months yet, but their sharp ‘kick’ call is often a giveaway, and helps you to locate the birds climbing up the bough of a tree. A good place to look for these birds is around the clock tower. Finally, if there is hard weather up north, we should see some Redwings arriving into the park. Redwings are a small thrush, visiting us from Scandinavia. They find our winters mild and inviting, and although shy, are sometimes seen raking over the leaf litter, searching for tasty morsels to get them through a long and chilly night.

Here’s a photo of a Redwing:

redwing

Tony Benton, Chair, Friends of Preston Park 

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Focus on . . . the Walled Garden volunteers

There are eight volunteer gardeners who meet on Tuesday mornings to help out in the garden. Here are some of them, with George, clearing one of the beds:

volunteers

You may remember that a couple of the beds in the garden have been cleared and sprayed off in an attempt to keep down the hated bindweed. The best of the plants have been preserved and will be ‘cleaned’ and replanted in the spring.

Volunteers have been a special part of the garden since 1995. Marguerite Wright is a founder and key member of the group, she answered our questions.

What’s special about the Walled Garden?
The garden contains an astonishing variety of plants, especially for a public garden. We are very lucky to have such a beautiful resource.

Tell us about the Heritage Lottery Grant refurb
This was a grant to refurbish the garden, it was agreed in 1996 and was the first successful HL bid by the council. The whole refurbishment took about 4 years and the garden was closed for a short while during this time. The garden was emptied and plants put into ‘holding’ in the kitchen garden. Paths were re-laid and things like the sundial replaced. When the infrastructure was finished the volunteers helped replant the garden. Only plant varieties cultivated before 1922 were used in order to respect to the heritage of the garden. It was part of the agreement for the grant that a gardener dedicated to the Walled Garden be appointed – hence George.

What are your hopes for the future of the garden?
That it continues to be maintained to a high standard and the huge variety of plants enjoyed for many generations to come. We want more people to visit and appreciate the garden. Thank you Marguerite. Sadly we have had some vandalism in the garden recently. People have been coming in at night, there has been damage to the beautiful wrought-iron gates which lead into the Manor lawn, benches have been moved and broken, plants damaged or destroyed and the pond affected too. It seems to have stopped now though, maybe because of the weather . . .

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Our annual report

As we draw to the close of another year, you may be interested to read this report of the activities of Friends of Preston Park over the past twelve months:

Annual report November 2013 to November 2014 (PDF, 276K)

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Our Annual General Meeting is this Saturday

The Annual General Meeting of the Friends of Preston Park will be held this Saturday at 11am in the Men’s Bowls Pavilion (near the Rotunda Cafe).

Be re-assured, the formalities will be kept to an absolute minimum! Primarily this will be a chance to ask questions or make comments about any aspect of the park.

We will be particularly interested to hear from anyone who will be able to help us in any way next year, however little or infrequent that may be.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Pics from the Halloween Lantern Walk

Sophia Behn tells some scary stories

Sophia Behn tells some scary stories

Just one of 20 giant pumpkins carved by Emma and the other park rangers

Just one of 20 giant pumpkins carved by Emma and the other park rangers

Face painting in the pavilion from Nam Nam's

Face painting in the pavilion from Nam Nam’s

The crowd gathers before the walk

The crowd gathers before the walk

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANo, the pavilion is not on fire. Smoke machine supplied by TS Professional Sound and Light.

No, the pavilion is not on fire. Smoke machine supplied by TS Professional Sound and Light.

Winner of best lantern shows off his prize of a giant chocolate cake and book vouchers

Winner of best lantern shows off his prize of a giant chocolate cake and book vouchers

And Peter, here, won the prize for best costume

And Peter, here, won the prize for best costume

Some more fabulous pumpkin lanterns

Some more fabulous pumpkin lanterns

halloween-212

Storytelling from Sophia

Face painting shown off by these two brothers

Face painting shown off by these two brothers

It was dark but certainly not cold - probably one of the warmest November nights on record

It was dark but certainly not cold – probably one of the warmest November nights on record

Another great costume

Another great costume

A pretty scary family you must admit

A pretty scary family you must admit

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Halloween Lantern Walk this Saturday

lantern_walk_2014

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Pics from the bulb planting extravaganza

There was a good turnout on a warm Autumn's day

There was a good turnout on a warm Autumn’s day

The volunteers were not daunted by 50,000 bulbs to plant

The volunteers were not daunted by 50,000 bulbs to plant

Jane Wills-Taylor provided some great entertainment

Jane Wills-Taylor provided some great entertainment

But mainly people turned up for the cakes!

But mainly people turned up for the cakes!

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

The Rock Garden volunteers

volunteers

The photo shows from the left, Alison Anastasia Hugh and Trixie.

Here are the volunteers who work hard in the Rock Garden every Wednesday from 10am to 1pm. The volunteer group was started around four years ago with Trixie as the founder member. After several short-term volunteers Anastasia joined the group then Alison and finally, last year, Hugh joined the volunteers.

Andy Jeavons, the garden Manager, says ‘The garden wouldn’t be a fraction of what it is now without their help. Although much of the work involves weeding, the volunteers enjoy planting many of the spring bulbs and herbaceous perennials, edging up the beds and screes and even decorating the chalet on wet days.’

The volunteer also have occasional visits to gardens. Outings have included RHS Wisley, Denmans, The Prairie Gardens, Parham House and Great Dixter.
Andy says ‘A huge thank you to the Rockery’s unsung heroes.’ And we second his appreciation.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Spotlight on the Harvest Garden

harvest garden

That’s the veggie garden area near the Rotunda, also called the demo garden. We thought you’d like to know a bit more about the area and the volunteers that work it so we asked Caroline Whiteman, volunteer co-ordinators, a few questions:

Q. When and how did the garden start?

It started in March 2010 with just 4 raised beds and a few containers. The Brighton and Hove Food Partnership, which is a local non-profit registered charity, asked the council for permission to build a demo garden in the park as a flagship for their ‘Harvest’ project. The project was aimed to promote food growing in the city. Many local volunteers helped to build it and continue to maintain it.

Q. There have been changes to the garden, tell us more about that.

This year the garden has doubled in size so we’re able to demonstrate perennial planting. Fruit bushes, trees, vines and herbs have been included. And the larger area enables wheelchair access to allow involvement by those with limited mobility.

Q. Are there opportunities for new volunteers?

The popularity of the garden means that we’re currently not taking on new volunteers. However there are around 70 community growing projects in the city, many of which would welcome new volunteers. For more info contact jo@bhfood.org or visit www.bhfood.org.uk or call 01273 431700.

Q. Where does the Demo veggie garden fit in with the wider Brighton Food Partnership?

The partnership works on all aspects of food: helping people learn to cook, eat a healthy diet, grow their own food and waste less food. This garden is still the flagship project but it’s also a great way to start a conversation about cooking, composting, volunteering or other fun food activities in which people can get involved around the city.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off