It is great to see the trees back in full leaf, as nature carries on regardless. One of the earliest such trees is the Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum). They are now in full blossom. It pays to look closely at its delicate colours.
Most famous for their seeds, much used in the past by small boys to play the game of “conkers ”.
Other uses of the conkers include horse medicines, as additives in shampoos, and as a starch substitute. Chemicals extracted from conkers can be used to treat strains and bruises. There’s hearsay that if you place conkers around your house it will keep spiders away, but there’s no scientific proof that this is the case.
The Victorians wrote recipes for making conker flour. The seeds were shelled, ground and then leached to remove bitter flavours. It’s not a common practise these days and if consumed in excessive quantities conkers are mildly poisonous. (Woodland Trust)
The new meadow, next to the river in Martin’s Hill park, is progressing well in only its second year. Looking good at the moment is the Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) especially in its pink form. Easy to miss, but well worth a close up view with its attractive flowers and feathery leaves (hence millefolium).
A planning application has been submitted for a major new development on land immediately adjacent to Library Gardens. The development is called ‘Churchill Quarter’ and it has a planning reference 18/02181/FULL1. Below is the proposed view from Library Gardens. The tallest block (Block B) would be 15 storeys, even taller than the existing theatre/library complex. All this on the highest part of the town centre. Some 40 families would be displaced for this commercial development, using council compulsory purchase orders.
After studying their proposals we believe that this will have major impacts on this public park, due to its massive nature and the overshadowing of this lovely park. We have entered into a joint campaign with the Bromley Civic Society to oppose this planning application.
An area in the grounds of Bromley Palace Park (aka Civic Centre) has recently been restored by the local idVerde team as a sensory garden, including plants with various textures, smells, and tastes. Located near the canteen it is hoped that as the plants grow they will encourage both council staff and members of the public to sample the results. Originally created as part of the Thyme Out project this bed had become neglected and need of a make over. To find out more about this site, and the other features there, please go to our Bromley Palace Park page.
Just two minutes from the busy Bromley High Street you could think yourself in the countryside! Part of Church House Gardens, called Dickerson’s Copse after the late local conservationist Gordon Dickerson (1932-1987), is currently full of cow parsley.
A common hedgerow biennial plant, it is part of the wider umbellifer family which also includes carrots. It normally flowers for May only and so we will soon lose its frothy white flower heads for another year. A good reason to take a trip to this bit of the ‘countryside’ now!
On Wednesday we had a very useful site visit with staff from Historic England, an official government heritage organisation. Along with representatives of our Friends group, Bromley Council and idVerde, they discussed how to best restore the listed features currently at risk. These Grade 2 listed features are; Ice House, Pulhamite Rockeries, Ha-Ha and Folly. With significant developments planned for this site it is vital to protect these heritage assets. Historic England will be now be liasing with Bromley council as the site owners, and the Friends group will continue supporting this important initiative. This part of the extensive Civic Centre is an important public park, designated as an Urban Open Space and also now a Local Green Space.
Cedar tree under development threat in Library Gardens
At the L.B.Bromley Executive meeting on 20 July, Director of Leisure and Culture, Colin Brand reported 40 objections to the public notice, mainly on the grounds of prematurity … That no planning application had yet been approved.
The council is withdrawing or suspending the disposal decision pending a planning decision. The disposal is to be made a result of planning approval. Mr Brand made it a bit vague as to whether the S123 (i.e. public) notice would be re-advertised.
This is just the start of a long campaign during which the impact on this public park will still be very real!