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March winds and April showers ….

March winds and April showers ….


It’s very exciting for the Friends that, after several years of trying, a new home for our information kiosk may soon be established.

The Lodge by the Apsley Gate used to be the Friends’ office where members staffed a small desk to greet and help visitors. That is now a café, and the volunteer members were moved to an attractive but not entirely suitable kiosk close by. They have run this little kiosk valiantly for many years, but dwindling numbers have meant that they aren’t able any longer to provide the level of service which they would like.

Our very grateful thanks go to them all, and especially to Patrick Read and Mary Aird who have impressed on us all along about how much they’d like to revive this addition to the Royal Park experience.

As most of the other Royal Parks Friends groups have managed to run quite ambitious information centres, we have dreamt of something similar in a prominent position.

Now, thanks to Hyde Park Manager, Jason Taylor, Assistant Manager, Jo Grant and our own Trustee, Will Gray, this is about to be launched.

For a very short trial period only, and with careful gathering of statistics during it, a temporary kiosk will be positioned close to The Hyde Park Corner end of the Serpentine Road. This trial will run only for a couple of summer months, but of course, if it proves popular and there are plenty of visitors asking questions apart from toilet locations, the option will be to extend the run.

Will Gray writes:
“The aims of a revamped Park information service are as follows:
Offer a service to visitors to Hyde Park.
Trial the feasibility of a volunteers’ information kiosk in a better location.
Promote Friends and Royal Parks Volunteering and increase awareness.
We’re looking for friendly and enthusiastic people to join the existing team of volunteers. The main requirements are enthusiasm, common sense, and a basic knowledge of the park or a willingness to learn. Any additional training will be given.

The planned trial will be on:
Monday 3rd June to Friday 2nd August 2024
The shift patterns will be:
Monday to Friday between 10.00 and 16.00, divided into three-hour shifts (10.00-13.00, and 13.00-16.00).
We think this would be a good opportunity for our many members who would like to be more involved in helping in the Park, but find the current gardening volunteering isn’t suitable”.

If you are interested, or would like to find out a little more, then please contact Will Gray: infohpkg@gmail.com

Boys and Girls come out to play

A hop and a skip over to Kensington Gardens and take the chance to re-acquaint yourself with the playground at Buck Hill.

A smaller relative of the large Diana Princess of Wales memorial playground, also in the north part of Kensington gardens, it has been transformed recently.

Everything is smart and colourful on a lovely forgiving surface. Not one single item is roped off and there are some new things to play on. The planting round the edges is now a little more protected, but not by fierce fencing. Smooth, fat, round buffer-rails run round the edges of the planted parts. They have no sharp edges and can be ducked under if a ball goes in that direction.

It’s a delight, and thanks to Manager Ryan Gill who was determined to give it a new lease of life, it was all achieved in a short time in January/February.

Shake it up ….At a showcase bed

For any of us who have walked east along the South Flower Walk in Kensington Gardens recently, we may have stopped in our tracks at the large flowerbed by the Albert Memorial.

It is undergoing major changes since it was first re-planted as a destination flowerbed some years ago. Manager Andy Williams explained that gardens which are designed to a high standard, do not stand still. Balance amongst plants changes, not such welcome things take over, and very few of us are brave enough to tackle this kind of change at home if it’s needed.

Head Gardener Russell Stevens has planned a massive re-planting. A wandering soft path has been designed through the middle for gardeners only to help with their access (wheel-barrows can now be moved in and out). Our volunteers are very pleased with this. When I passed by, bamboo canes were laid out like a giant jigsaw with straight-sided pieces. Clearly each “piece” was destined to have a mass of something new installed.

Watch this space, and we’ll keep all of you who aren’t able to visit up to date with progress reports.

h1. Last call….

For our always enjoyable tree and garden walk in Hyde Park, with head gardener Beth and tree expert Greg.

Behind the scenes and a pleasant drink in (we hope) a sunny private garden before lunch.
Tuesday 30th April 11am to 1pm

Anne Mallinson OBE JP

Service of Thanksgiving
Friday 17th May 12noon
St John’s Church
Hyde Park Crescent
W2 2QD

Many of our longer-standing members will remember Anne and her late husband, Terrence Mallinson. They were both life members of the Friends, and very enthusiastic and keen supporters for many years. Anne was the one who always leapt up at our AGMs to propose a vote of thanks.

They both enjoyed coming to our events, even when getting about became a little more difficult, and were game visitors to ‘Winter Wonderland’ with us. Terrence was particularly interested in trees. Anne was a public servant all her life and was involved in dozens of organisations and served as Lord Mayor of Westminster.

Anne died peacefully on 26th December 2023.
Her family have told us how much she enjoyed the Friends. They would like to invite members who may remember Anne, and all that she did for her community, to join them at this Thanksgiving Service.

Anne and Terrence lived long and generous lives, and we were lucky to know them both.

And last of all….

The competition which wasn’t ….
In our last newsletter, we showed a photo of an absolutely enormous pot destined for Hyde Park. Nursery manager Rob Dowling, Hyde Park, assistant manager Jo Grant and I, were all hanging over the edge wondering how it was to be planted and how protected from efforts to push it over.

It was worthy of a caption competition but I admitted I couldn’t organise one……
The winner of the (no prize) non-competition is Anne Greenstock with the following:
“Whose idea was it to plant that bonsai in here in 1982?”
“Whose idea was it to plant that bonsai in here in 1982?”

Sue Price

Paul Shelley
Ryan Gill
Sue Price

Eventbrite booking photos:
Tina Higginson
Rob Dowling

Sue Price