The sub-committee was set up following the extraordinary AGM in 2021 at which issues surrounding tree cutting were discussed and communication about works.
The remit was to manage the existing maintenance required for the Gardens and other areas of Rowley Park
and to work on a plan for future maintenance of the Gardens. A four- year plan was drawn up because of work that was required to maintain the trees and shrubs.
The sub-committee also agreed to hold events to raise money towards the upkeep and improvement of the
gardens. The aim is to hold four events a year. This year we have had the Carol Concert and the Jubilee Party.
The sub - committee met for the first time in October 2021, drew up their constitution and their aims. The
committee has met on average, on a monthly basis.
The four-year plan is underway with Lyndon Marr removing tree stumps, roots and self- seeded sycamores from the Rowley Avenue end of the garden, reducing the ivy and raising the crowns of a number of yew trees so that more light and moisture can reach the ground. We were successful in our community bid application to the council and were awarded £500 which we have used to buy the first of the new trees to bring more colour into the Pleasure Gardens; liquidambar for autumn colour; avian cherry; strawberry tree; two hydrangea to replace the laburnums and a silver birch ‘Snow Queen’ which was planted for the Queen’s Jubilee. All of these new additions contribute to the richness of the gardens.
There remain a number of maintenance and management challenges that need careful thought over the next
phase of the plan. The sub-committee are keen to follow the advice of the Head Gardener of Dorothy Clive
Gardens in ensuring that the decline in the rhododendrons is addressed through pruning and shaping; we want to avoid using herbicides and pesticides and we want to respect the bird nesting season which is from the end of March to the beginning of September. We also feel that the Pleasure Gardens can contribute a little to reducing the decline of pollinators through a planting and mowing regime that allows some of the grass and wild flowers to grow, while keeping the vast majority of the grass closely cropped. In keeping to these principles, the subcommittee have set themselves a number of challenges; in observing the nesting season we severely restrict the amount of time major work can take place; in avoiding the use of chemicals we need to explore the use of citronella or removing roots with a digger which is more expensive. We also need to give careful thought to a planting scheme for the two verges on Rowley Avenue which, after the loss of the oak, look sadly neglected.