Wednesday, 28 October 2015

** BGCG NEWS BULLETIN ** **Issue 2**


**PICNIC AND ACTIVITY DAY**




We raised £250.08 at our fun picnic day. If you are new here and somehow didn't know about it, even though we went on, and on, and on to anyone who would listen! It was a huge success and you can read all about the day in our previous blog post, just click here.


**WATER UPDATE**

We haven't been struggling as much lately, because the sky has delivered much rain. Thank you sky. We are still working with the Council on this matter.


**TREE UPDATE**

The trees have finally got some attention thanks to Harrow Council and George the tree man! Mark met with him a couple of months ago and since then, the team have been in the gardens cutting down large bits of deadwood and branches to make the park safer and a bit lighter.





They have taken into consideration the bad effect that years of being left to grow naturally has caused. Sadly but necessarily this means chopping back quite harshly in some places. They explained that trees growing so close to each other has caused them to grow very awkwardly in the wrong places and they would need to cut back a bit more for safety. They were very informative and involved and it was really great to talk with them as I'm someone who clearly doesn't know much about trees, as you can tell from my descriptions here!

We have some nice ideas for this lovely old stump we've been left with, in the photo below. Email us if you have any ideas you'd like us to consider, bernaysgardens@hotmail.com


We now have much needed light on the beds and also rain water has been able to get to them a bit more. The plants will grow back lush as ever along with our newly planted fig and mulberry trees for next summer.

Thank you Harrow Council for getting that sorted for us!


**BIN UPDATE**


We were promised a new bin by Harrow Council. Well you know what? They only blooming well gave us two!

Blooming? Like flowers? Geddit?! Sorry guys!

Thanks again Harrow council and John Williams for your continued support. The difference has been amazing over the summer. Inevitably, we have had some naughty littering since college started but we're really trying to keep on top of it and talk to all of the students to get them to understand. We have notices up everywhere and also do regular litter picks. If you see someone litter, please just ask them nicely if they will pick it up. Usually people feel guilty and they apologise.

You can see one of the lovely new bins in the photo below which also shows gorgeous Mollie (Lesley's niece) and our Mark on a volunteer gardening Sunday a few weeks ago.




**AUTUMN BULB PLANTING AND VOLUNTEERING**



 We have been planting away like mad over the last few weeks and with very little human power between us, we have to just take it in bite sized chunks and get together whenever we can for a few hours here and there. We have different sets of skills which also helps.

It's bulb planting season and some very generous local people donated us lots of them. Squires Garden centre a whole sack of daffodils and lots of smaller packs from local residents mean that spring is going to be just gorgeous in the gardens. However, the tough job of turning over the solid ground needed to be done first.

There's also the constant battle to collect bits of rubbish and leaves and weeds that pop up every week around the flowers, that also has needed a quite a bit of attention.

It's incredibly satisfying though, especially at the end of each session when we tidy up and look back in through the gates at everything looking fresh and lovely and we really enjoy being in there chatting to everyone that passes by or pops in to say hello. So thanks to those who do!




















Above are our trusty gardening dogs, Turk and Max. Well behaved, soppy, clean, great company... but more about that further into the newsletter, we need to have a further discussion about dogs below.

**DOG UPDATE**


We have had to put up signs about keeping dogs on leads. Let me explain a bit of back story.

The gardens have always had a no dog rule. When we started out with the council this year we were allowed to reassess that rule as a group. We decided to offer up poo bags for free and see how things went because we like dogs and  they would bring more friendly people into the gardens.

Even with our good intentions,  from the beginning, we had a problem with a big doberman coming in regularly and the owner not being in control. On many occasions, we asked the owner to please keep her dog on the lead. The dog is very big and snarls and barks at everyone. The owner tells us she is putting it on the lead, however we have caught her one too many times letting it run around the gardens and it escapes into the church field where there are vulnerable children plus, it's private property.

The problem is, this dog runs all over the beds and attacks other dogs aggressively, including mine. The owner cannot seem to control it.

Another local residents group have noticed it as well. So finally, we are exhausted, we have reported the situation to the local police. For now, we have displayed clear signs up about keeping dogs on leads.We're just sad that one person makes it difficult as many other dogs come to play in the gardens with no problems at all.

If you see the doberman in the gardens, please report it by calling 101. There aren't dog wardens in the area any more and for the most part, we don't need them. We will not tolerate people bringing dangerous dogs in and closing the gate to make it into their own private exercise pen for a dog they can't control. The gardens should be safe for everyone.

**TARMAC RUBBLE UPDATE**




There was a pile of tarmac rubble on the footpath for as long as I can remember, so much so, we just kind of didn't see it any more. About 3 weeks ago, again at an Elm Park Residents meeting, a local mentioned it to me and a few others.


I reported it to the council that week and they have cleared it all up. Look how lovely!





Just remember, if you see a problem in your local area, there's a lovely form you can fill out on the Harrow council website, and it does work. I've proved it 3 times! 

***DONATIONS***

We have been donated some new tools by Graham Hill. Now we're just trying to track down a shed to keep them in.

The Lovely Victoria Seco donated a button heart, a gorgeous glass bird and a rose bush which is in the front bed. We've yet to install the other pieces, we like to ensure they are high up near the fairies!

Many people contributed over the last few months and I'm scared I'll forget some, but we've had bulbs, Marsha Gordon bought a heather, Squires donated the 3 palms, Andrea Goodman donated some bulbs and many people their time and smiles, but it all helps!

**COMMUNITY NOTICE BOARD**


There is a new community board on the front gates which is much stronger and should last at least one winter. It was made from upcycled wood. Please feel free to put notices on there.

And finally, we will be featuring in My Stanmore News. They've enjoyed our updates so much they have offered me and Lesley de Meza a Stanmore Positive Action Community Column every month. So look out for our articles in your post box. If you haven't already joined the Stanmore Positive Action Group on facebook, PLEASE CLICK HERE

Thanks for reading and see you in 2016 when we publish our next newsletter.


Thursday, 17 September 2015

Picnic and Fun Day - SUCCESS!!!

On Sunday the community group held our first event. We had talked about it for a few months and we wanted to put something on at the end of the summer to give us some funds to help going forwards, now that we have official treasurers and everything! We really needed to do a fund raiser, but with only a few of us actively involved all of the time and no budget, how would we manage? Well let me tell you!

We kept things simple, sometimes it's the best way. We decided to make it a free event because when something is free nobody can be dissappointed right?! After a few hiccups trying to sort some acoustic music because of the lack of power in the gardens and almost feeling like we wouldn't have an event, a few local bands came together and all offered  their services for free, but they also reached into their own pockets to hire a generator and came down on both days at the weekend to help set up. My goodness what legends those guys were. We were so grateful and they are so lovely and generous. 

We made some posters and told everyone to bring their own picnics as there would be no food or drinks on sale and we borrowed bunting from the church. It threatened to rain all weekend so the church also kindly offered us their hall if it all went wrong. Luckily it didn't!

Anyway, I'll start you off by showing you all the things we did to set up on Saturday. First things first, the weather over the recent weeks and having all of the trees finally cut back by Harrow Council, meant that we needed to borrow a leaf blower off my neighbour to clean up drastically, there were sticks and leaf debris everywhere and also rubbish dropped by the new influx of students at the college and blown in from the street, which the litter pickers came in useful for!

We also needed to put up some bird boxes and butterfly houses which have been donated, a new sign made by Lesley near the entrance and a new community notice board which should last at least one winter now as it was made me and my friend Mark out of upcycled wood which was donated by a local school. I love re-using things and limiting waste!

My brother and I headed up Saturday morning with the borrowed leaf blower donated goods, a ladder and a drill and he helped me get everything high enough to avoid theft.  (hopefully)
^^ Lesley's sign. Cute huh? ^^

 ^^ Bird box, also donated by Lesley and has been sitting at my house for a while, finally mounted on the new chopped tree, our monolith. ^^
 ^^ The band came by on Saturday night to set up the small patform they had made to perform on and Stuart and I got all the bunting up with Irving. ^^
^^ Lesley made this collage which I think is rather lovely. Top left is me playing with my favourite new toy, the leaf blower! Middle is the stage and top right is the gates that evening after we had put all of the decorations up and locked up. Bottom left are the Lovely Chords setting up their stage and bottom right is me up a ladder out the front putting up bunting. ^^
On Sunday Morning, the chords came in and set up, using the camper van awning and successfully hiding the generator behind it, we were starting to get a nice festival feel! They warmed up and sound checked and people out on the street came and looked in on us when they heard the music outside, some were very surprised!

The Chords also busked out the front for us to entice people in. You can see the videos on their facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/The-Chords-391418657733360/timeline/

Please go and check them out and give them a like. 


More people started turning up including our other musicians, Chris Harvey, Frank and Harmony, two ladies with great voices who sung beautifully together. What absolute legends!
Oh and did I mention, the sun shone? Thoughout most of the day? It was so meant to be!

The last thing to turn up was the mosaic taxi. Ladies and gents I present to you, the Zulu Voodoo Liberation Taxi.


People gasped and gathered round it as it came in, looking closer at the intricate and stunning mosaic asking all about the cause. If you were there and enjoyed it, you can find out more about the artists at Carrie's website. 


 This lady is Victoria. She's a really lovely person and has donated us a gorgeous rose bush which is now planted in the front beds. She also made us this gorgeous heart which I'm going to try and get hung up in one of the trees. 

Thank you again Victoria. We love it. 

And just a few more from the day. Lesley's lovely neighbours below enjoying the music.

A couple and their little girl looking on and eating a nice picnic.
And this gorgeous couple on the bench who I enticed in on the way back from their shopping trip and they loved it!

We had such a great day, it was so wonderful to get the whole community out.

As the event was free we operated on a donation only policy. We had a bucket which went round all afternoon, and you know what? We only blooming well made the huge sum of £250.08

This exceeded our expectations. I think we all would have been happy with less than that and it puts us in a really good place to have a little money for the future, for our shed, or a future event, or gardening tools. Anything!

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to everyone who got involved or came and just enjoyed the day and put a coin or a note into our bucket. We are so grateful and can't wait to do it again. It gave us all a buzz and a warm fuzzy feeling inside.

On to the next one. If anyone has any more fundraising ideas, you know you can find us on any of the social media links on the right. We also have an email address which is bernaysgardens@hotmail.com and we actively chat away on Facebook together. 

Next project, digging up some ground, planting some palms and planting bulbs.

Can anyone help us? If so, please drop us a line.



Friday, 17 July 2015

My Stanmore News

My goodness! We are the centre page of My Stanmore News this week! Look at us getting a whole centre spread!

For anyone who hasn't got a copy, here's the article scanned in full resolution for you. Click the image to see it even bigger and if you would like to save it to read it at the full size.


Thursday, 9 July 2015

** BGCG NEWS BULLETIN ** **Issue 1**





Hi everyone, things have been happening in the gardens at a slowed pace recently, but fear not, people are still pottering away in the background to keep the flowers alive. Here's the latest news from Bernays Gardens.


** WATER **
We are still having water issues which we hope to work on with the council, but we are taking up tanks to fill the butts and the flowers are thriving with people regularly popping up to water them. Here's David with one of the butts in a trolley which he took home to fill up.



Mark has also regularly been popping up with big tanks and a lady who visits regularly waters when she brings her dog in. I'm sure there may be some secret waterers too, so thank you to everyone who is keeping our plants alive and popping in regularly to pick up litter. 

** ANTI BULLYING GROUP **

An anti-bullying group have been using the gardens for their meetings in the nice weather. I can't think of a better place to hold a summer outdoor meeting. It's good to get out of the office! Will be nice to see more local groups and businesses using it as the profile goes up. 

** POO BAG UPDATE **

People have been using the poo bags and we haven't found any mess in the garden when we've been litter picking! Yay for responsible dog owners. We refilled the dispenser a couple of days ago too so there are plenty more bags for everyone.  

** NEXT COUNCIL MEETING **

We are arranging a meeting to be held in the next couple of weeks, the date is to be confirmed but it will probably be on a weekday evening so that most people can attend after work. We will be discussing the longer term plans for the gardens, working with local groups, funding, council participation etc...

Everyone is welcome to come to these meetings, they are open to all. We will post details on the facebook group when we have a date, time and place

** FAIRY UPDATE **

The fairies have been doing their fairy thing, keeping an eye on the gardens, sprinkling magic and leaving gifts. There is a new surprise being installed in the front area, but they aren't ready to reveal everything yet! It takes them quite a while to get their little wings flapping and flying all over the gardens.

Sadly some fairies are missing from their home under one of the central trees. We're not sure who felt the need to kidnap them, we are awaiting a ransom note but so far nobody has come forward. 

If you know anything about our missing fairies please contact us. We will try to meet kidnapper demands. The other fairies are quite upset. 

** BIRD BOX UPDATE **

A new bird box was hung today near the entrance. Look out for it on the way in!

** MYSTERY TREE**

Can anyone tell us what this tree near the entrance is? We just aren't sure!


That's all for now then folks. You know where to find us, click any of the links on the right hand side, we're always on facebook chatting away. Come and join us! 

Little owl signing off.


Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Stanmore Fun Day and Volunteering in the Gardens

On Sunday St John's Church had their fun day and we had our volunteer day running alongside it. Stuart opened the gates and people could come through the gardens to get to the fun day field, we would nab them on the way through and tell them all about our volunteering and try and get them involved. We think it may have worked! Lesley is fantastic at enticing people into the group and Mark charmed all the children with his fairy paraphernalia which he stole from the elves and fairies which have been appearing in spots around the garden. 

He also let some children choose and plant their own flowers, giving them a little sense of ownership and a want to come back with mum and dad and look after it. So sweet! 

The mayor of Harrow opened the Fun Day and we all prayed that the rain would stop so that more people would turn up. All the stalls looked so lovely waiting.




The church tower was open for people to go up and see the bells. I desperately wanted to go, so I snuck of for a little look while the others stayed back at the gardens keeping an eye on things.
The entrance was very narrow and the staircase incredibly steep, impossible to photograph with my camera. I climbed up the winding, worn stairs until I reached a room full of bell ringers. The whole society were there to talk us through how they work and tell us a bit of history. They meet every Thursday evening and anyone is welcome.


I climbed further up and they showed me the bells, these photographs don't do the sheer size and awesomeness of them justice. (I know awesomeness isn't a word but I like it! haha!)

Then we climbed further to the top, stepped out of the tiny door and all opened our mouths in awe as we took in this view of the surrounding areas. It was amazing and such a shame we didn't get a clearer day for it.
The old church looked amazing from up there. Just look!







I walked back down a few levels and they rang the bells. I'd like to say thank you to them for such a lovely 20 minutes. I have heard the bells from my house since I was a tiny child and it was quite an odd feeling seeing them and hearing them surround me in that room, the vibrations of them shaking the tower. A bit like meeting a celebrity you've seen on TV for years!

Anyway, I've been distracted here from the garden work but I wanted to cover the fun day because they were so lovely to let us share in their event, and really it was brilliant and this is about Stanmore. 

So back in the gardens, we put up some new signs about littering. A new notice board at the entrance where people are welcome to also put community notices. We swept and planted and gossiped with all of the locals who came through. 

We found a new fairy. She told us this is her favourite spot to watch over people in the garden and make sure they are having a lovely time. Try and spot her when you're next in there will you? Let us know if you have found her! 


The fairies we had found previously could be spotted sprinkling dust under a tree further in. The children just loved finding them there. 
We planted all varieties of newly donated plants. Thanks to Mark Brooker and Mark Maltby for donating flowers and also one of my lovely neighbours, we injected new colour into the freshly turned beds. (Mark B had spent so much time digging them in previous weeks)













I'd just like to finish up by saying thank you again to Stanmore Church for letting us share their day with them and to very one who came and engaged with us throughout the day. 

Annie (on behalf of the Bernays Gardens Community Group) 

*** If anyone has anymore photos from the day which you would like to see here on the blog, please email us at bernaysgardens@hotmail.com and we'll happily do another lovely photo blog post on here. ***