Royal Connections

Queens Garden off Kentish Way, as the name suggests, has royal connections. The former White Hart Field was donated for a public park to commemorate the 60th year of Queen Victoria’s reign in 1897, and officially opened in 1900. Since then the anniversaries of our present sovereign continue to be marked, this time in trees!

Planted to mark the 70th anniversary of reign of Queen Elizabeth II

Over the years Bromley council have planted a tree to mark various royal milestones. Those for 1992, 2002, 2012 and of course 2020 can be found here, along with one for the Queen and Prince Philip’s wedding anniversary in 1997. Each tree has a plaque recording the event.

Elm ‘New Horizons’ planted in 1992

There are also others commemorating other non royal events. So the next time you visit Queens Garden why not see what you can spot!

Storm Impact on Parks

We all love our trees and how they enhance our public spaces. So it is sad when we lose any of the. Sadly several have either been brought down or badly damaged, as a result of Storm Eunice. A couple of examples are shown below.

Wild Cherry in Library Gardens

There was also damage to a large Cedar as well as a new tree sapling, in Church House Gardens. All these trees have been reported. Some will survive, if badly damaged. Hopefully the others will be replaced in due course by new ones. However it will inevitably take many years for them to again become mature specimens.

Trees……..

Horse Chestnuts, Martins Hill

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.

Horse Chesnut in blossom

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)

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.

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.