Town Centre Parks are looking beautiful

Early on a wonderful Sunday morning I decided it would be great to visit some of our town centre parks, in order to raise my spirits. I first visited College Green our newest park, just up the road from Sainsbury and behind Bromley College a Grade 1 listed building. This small park is maintained by volunteers of Bromley Green Gym. The daffodils of various sizes were looking magnificent.

Daffodils on College Green

And the fruit trees were just coming into bloom, hopefully promising a good harvest later in the year.

Fruit tree in blossom

In the circular Mulberry Bed I came across a Rosemary in full flower. This herb has been celebrated, for many centuries in folklore, with remembrance. In Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’; Orphelia states “ “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance. Pray you, love, remember.” It is also good for cooking as well!

Rosemary in flower

Then a short walk to our next park, Queens Garden. Once upon a time this was White Hart Field, associated with the inn of the same name, where stage-coach horses would then rest and graze. Later a cricket field, frequented by H.G.Wells’ father, it is now a much appreciated park right next to The Glades shopping centre.

Queens Garden, from Kentish Way entrance

This was a chance, with very little traffic noise from the nearby dual carriageway, to hear the robins, blackbirds, etc announcing themselves. The formal flower beds, for which this park is especially appreciated by visitors, were looking excellent. In the former Darwin flower bed, which was replanted last year, I spotted this small tree in flower.

Tree located in former Darwin flowerbed

A short walk through the still closed shopping centre and deserted High Street brought me to Library Gardens, with scaffolding still around the Churchill Theatre, and into Church House Gardens. Where I spotted this lovely Camelia next to the lake.

Camellia in flower

The nearby ducks and geese were going along with their lives, perhaps waiting for people to feed them, and up to the upper gardens. There I came upon the gazebo with the magnolia close by.

Then across to Martins Hill, and yet more daffodils planted previously by Friends’ volunteers to celebrate the Marie Curie charity whose emblem this plant is.

‘Field of Hope’, Martins Hill

A quick walk along the top of the park, with many lovely bare trees resplendent in the morning light and fine views across the valley towards Beckenham and beyond.

Bare trees, Martins Hill

And so home to a well earned hot drink. Our parks while always important for our physical and mental wellbeing are especially critical in these worrying times. So please visit your park, but remember to adopt ‘social distancing’ and respect the health of other park users you come across.

New Life….

With the long days, spring is finally on its way, and nature is responding. Just one example of this is some frog spawn spotted in the lake in Church House Gardens.

Frog spawn in Lake
Photo by Kari Silvester

This frog spawn was moved here by one of the idVerde park workers, as he originally found it in a large puddle nearby which he realised would soon dry out and so the eggs would die. So as a lover of nature, he moved it carefully to this nearby safer spot. Well done him! Let’s hope that at least some of these become adult frogs in due course.

Queens Garden: Your comments wanted

People enjoying warm day in Queens Garden

Queens Garden is a popular town centre park which for two years running has been awarded a Green Flag, a national award marking its quality. We are now looking for your comments on this park especially what you most enjoy about it. Your comments will help inform the ongoing management plan for this site.

Welcoming a New Year

With the passing of the old year, and the start of another it seemed appropriate to celebrate New Years Day with a walk around all seven of our town centre parks. A hardy few turned up, despite the gloomy weather, to work off any results of the Christmas festivities and to enjoy the open spaces of our parks. On our walk we encountered only a few other park users, either walking their dogs or jogging. Otherwise we had the parks to ourselves. Some overflowing waste bins, and remains of spent fireworks on Martins Hill provided evidence of previous celebrations.

After walking through Church House Gardens we passed by the Mill Pond and the Ravensbourne feeding it, now back to its usual flow of water, a couple of visiting cormorants were sighted as well as two resident Egyptian geese who landed in nearby lake. Also spotted were a large number of golf balls isolated on the now bare mud bank. Occasionally passing members of the public have thought of these as small ‘eggs’! These have in fact floated downstream, probably from a local golf club or driving range.

Golf balls deposited on mud bank

After visiting several other parks, and finding them in ‘good order’, we finally arrived at Bromley Palace Park (aka Civic Centre Grounds) where we initially had a setback when we discovered that the gates at the Rafford Way entrance were locked.

Locked gates, Rafford Way

Undeterred by this we instead managed to gain access to the park via the main entrance, where the automatic doors opened as usual. Needless to say we had the site to ourselves. We visited the listed features including the Ice House and the Pulhamite Cascade which we are campaigning to be restored. We duly took a photo, in front of the listed former Palace building, to celebrate our visit.

We normally end our park walks with refreshments in the on site canteen. But as it was inevitably closed we decided to call it a day and make our ways home, wondering what opportunities and challenges our Friends group would encounter in 2020.

Successful Tree Planting Event

As part of #NationalTreeWeek volunteers recently attended a @BromleyGreenGym event in College Green #Bromley, to plant thirty native tree saplings, as well as a couple of fruit trees. It was sunny and dry, and so with their help all scheduled tasks to were duly completed.

Family to the ready
Volunteers planting saplings

Also volunteers prepared the ground for a new improved willow dome, which will be completed in the next few weeks.

Digging up turf for new willow dome

Afterwards the volunteers were able to celebrate all their efforts over a hot drink and biscuits. Everybody mentioned what a good time they had.

The saplings were provided by Mayor of London, and the fruit trees were bought by Bromley Green Gym themselves.

Bromley Green Gym, who help maintain this park, run sessions in College Green, College Road BR1 1PA – every Friday 11am-2pm and welcome anybody to turn up and take part.

Autumn Colour

Autumn colour in Church House Gardens

This is that time of the year when our parks become really colourful. Whether maple, beech or in this case Gingko the trees turn various shades of brown, red or yellow all too briefly and then shed their leaves as they prepare for winter. In that short time they cheer us up a little, whether sunny or overcast.

Civic Centre Sale decision

Fountain & Lake, Bromley Palace Park

On 16 October, despite continuing doubts as to the de-registering of the land as Urban Open Space, the council’s Executive Committee ‘rubber-stamped’ the sale of the land currently occupied by former Joesph Lancaster and Ann Springman buildings. In less than five minutes, and without any public discussion, the decision was confirmed. Later discussions were held in secret session. We now await details fo how this site is going to be developed by the new owner and any implications on continuing access to the adjacent park from Rafford Way.Pa