Monday, 3 September 2012

Help our Parks!

Gold medals to everyone involved with the wonderful planting and landscaping in the Olympic Park.  What a spectacular setting for, not one but two, remarkable Games!

It was great to hear that Olympic volunteers found volunteering to be good fun and very worthwhile.  How can we in the County Gardens Trusts make the most of the current enthusiasm for volunteering?  What can be done to ensure that we offer opportunities that are fun and worthwhile?  Could the Capability Brown Tercentenary in 2016 be the perfect opportunity to engage with new audiences?  If so, how are we going to reach them?  If you will be at Avon Gardens Trust's Conference in Bath this weekend, introduce yourself to Lucy Futter (or me - Liz Ware) and have a chat about your ideas.

Another gold medal should go to Kate Lowe, editor of Horticulture Week for heading the campaign 'Make Parks a Priority'.  I represent the AGT at GreenLINK meetings where the massive cuts to urban park budgets have been a regular topic of discussion.  Parks are free for anyone who needs them, whether for exercise, fresh air, or just a bit of peace and quiet. The most vulnerable people in our urban areas need parks more than ever in difficult economic times.

Cuts to maintenance budgets are happening now.  Deterioration in our parks is just around the corner.  As any gardener knows, it is easier (and cheaper) to keep a green space (of any size, historic or otherwise) under control than it is to let it get out of hand. If our parks aren't considered important enough to keep under control today, where will the money come from tomorrow when they have deteriorated to such an extent that they need to be completely regenerated? When you are dealing with hard landscaping and living plant material, such short-term thinking is madness!

Details of the campaign have been sent to all County Gardens Trusts.  Please do your bit to help.

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