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Blog 19 Chairmans Update - Kensington Gardens

Blog 19 Chairmans Update - Kensington Gardens

Kensington Gardens Manager Andy Williams tells us: “The teams are coming back to work into offices where spacing allows.”

The Gardeners (OCS)
have worked throughout as has the Vinci team which is responsible for cleaning and maintaining buildings. The appalling levels of dumped rubbish has somewhat reduced.

The Parks Toilets
have all re-opened. All are attended and closed for short periods during the day for cleaning.

Staff accommodation
redevelopment of the stacked portacabins, “temporarily” installed about ten years ago, which provides mess facilities for all the garden and maintenance staff, was due to be replaced in the Spring. This project is now on hold but the portacabins are in such awful condition, following years of delays, that some work must take place.

The Playgrounds
have now re-opened with arrangements for Covid spacing.

The Diana, Princess of Wales, Memorial Playground (DPWMP) will be closed for its annual maintenance for a week on 2nd November. Normally this would take place in the Spring. Numbers here are limited to 200 to 250 people at any one time to help everyone spread out.

The Galleon, and other popular play equipment is getting worn and due for a major refurb. However income has disappeared and the Royal Parks are now relying on reserves. A decision will be taken soon about whether funding can be found to rebuild this old favourite.

The playground at Buck Hill is looking lovely and is in great condition.

The Italian Gardens Cafe
nearby has a few indoor tables available to add to those outside. The takings here are drastically reduced.

North Flower Walk
was notorious some years ago for antisocial behaviour. Horticultural experience and re-designing has changed the area’s atmosphere altogether. On a sunny day this week there were plenty of family groups and toddlers playing. Four tree trunks from the Park will be brought here and transformed by a chainsaw sculptor into a pollinator bench, a centipede balance beam and a spangled water beetle. More fun to be had.

Any photos, especially with children playing on them, would be welcome. The sculptured trees will appear sometime in October or November.

Long Water
woodland management continues. A pond dipping platform is to be installed as well as an interpretation board to explain what’s going on.

The Serpentine and Sackler Galleries
have re-opened with limited alternating exhibitions.

Kensington Palace
also has limited opening hours. Work has stopped on their sunken gardens.

Mission Invertebrate
continues to be funded by the People’s Postcode Lottery and the fourth year is about to start.

Graffiti
and criminal damage in August alone cost £1,178 to remove and repair. There were 17 separate incidences.

Horse Chestnut
trees are sadly not doing at all well and many are now dying. Tetradium Danielli (Bee bee tree) seems to like conditions here though, so may feature some more.

Peter Pan’s
meadow was wonderful during the summer. It has now been mowed and time is being allowed for the seeds to drop before the hay is gathered.

Parakeets
have been fed enthusiastically close by along with squirrels and pigeons. The ground has been completely worn away and trees were dying from the compaction. The whole area was gradually more and more fenced (go to this spot to see a wide range of types including cleverly diverted iron railings). Now the ground has fully recovered and looks positively lush.

Luckily there is a dearth of tourists, who I think had this spot and activity down as a ‘must do thing’ in London. So the parakeets might be going hungry but everything else is breathing a sigh of relief.

Grass
had also gone missing from around the Round Pond. The site of gigantic picnics helped along with copious drink and other substances during lockdown was awful and there was no end of mess to clear up. This week there is a haze of green over the whole area. There was also the sad sight of police divers trawling to try to locate clothing and possessions belonging to a lady who was found very early in the pond on a late August morning having ended her life. She has still not been identified.

South Flower Walk
is full of blocks of blazing coloured Autumn flowers and stunning salvias, there are spaces ready for seasonal planting and the foliage is just turning.

I hope you find this KENSINGTON GARDENS news round up interesting and useful.

It’s the turn of HYDE PARK next week.
My very grateful thanks to Lynden Easton for setting up and sending out these blogs to you all and to Paul Shelley who takes the wonderful photos.

Sue Price
Chairman

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