Barnard Park planting has thrown off its woolly jumper early and really dazzled this spring. It’s been perfect weather for bulbs in areas tended by park volunteers livened up by yellow and blue flowers – a sure tonic for any gloomy day. The flower show began in February when yellow crocus braved the cold around the bases of more than 20 lime trees flanking Barnsbury Road. This time around the squirrels didn’t wreck them! Gardening is very unpredictable in a large urban space. It can be frustrating but never dull. Self-seeded flowers can be an unexpected joy.
The bulbs progressed through the season with daffodils in the volunteer beds and throughout the park. Passers-by, some rushing to work, could take pleasure from a mix of flowers in the 100 metre Barnsbury Road bed. There are intrepid white hellebores, also called Christmas rose, blooming from February along with acid yellow euphorbias and brunnera ‘Jack Frost’ with heart shaped leaves and blue flowers. And also now flowering are drifts of bluebells planted five years ago that are just coming into their own. And that’s not all. Orange tulips dot the lively bed in the children’s playground along with what’s popping up in the park central shrubbery.
The gardening crew of the Friends of Barnard Park have negotiated a Service Level Agreement with the Council for the maintenance of three large planting areas in the park. The bulb glories highlighted above are in these areas. The SLA provides cash for mulch, plants and other sundries while the volunteers deliver a high-level of gardening skill. Such involvement is increasingly important as government cut-backs are absorbed by park department maintenance teams.
We’re always welcoming volunteers. It’s satisfying to learn or exchange plant skills. Or (working in the neighbourhood?) just to take a break and experience urban nature for an hour or two. We aim for regular work sessions on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, weather and schedules permitting. If you would like to help, just e-mail us at email@example.com.