The colder weather recently has meant many plants are flowering a few weeks late. Still, there is a lot to see, and a lot of promise budding up for the weeks to come.
Besides the delightful English bluebells, and the blossom on the apple, pear and crabapple trees, here are some of the other highlights to look out for.
Greater Stitchwort (Stellaria holostea)
As pretty as stars, this member of the carnation family grows in abundant clusters in areas of the Park. Named after their herbal use in curing ‘stitch’, they are also plant food for bees and especially moths. They have an explosive seed-dispersal mechanism. In late spring, when the seed capsules ripen, they can be heard popping as they noisily fire their seeds. Some say that if you pick greater stitchwort, you will cause a thunderstorm !!
Cowslip (Primula veris)
Cowslips are beginning to flower in the wildflower meadow. A traditional native flower they are important nourishment for bees, beetles and butterflies such as the brimstone and Duke of Burgundy . The plant is said to have sedative qualities and was traditionally used to treat sleeping problems and coughs. The Spanish add the leaves to recipes for a citrusy flavour; they also traditionally flavour English country wine.
Following Andy’s excellent review of the first walk, and some people wanting to attend for a second time, we have been oversubscribed on the second walk given current Government restrictions. Therefore, with restrictions on outdoor gathering due to relax on 17th May, there will now be a Dawn Chorus Walk on Friday 21st May with Darren Shepherd.
This morning, in the early hours that coincided with sunrise, a group of us ventured out onto the Park to experience one of nature’s true splendours, the famous “Springtime Dawn Chorus”.
Binoculars at the ready
Bleary eyed and fuelled with coffee we gathered together at the Nethercliffe Entrance, and soon were wide awake. It was impossible not to be when listening in to the Park’s extensive bird population all proudly advertising themselves and warning off rivals who might dare to enter their territory.
Fortunately for us, we had local bird watching expert and founder of the Wharfedale Wildlife Facebook Group (WWG), Darren Shepherd in attendance, ready and willing to offer us guidance and decipher the mass of sound that we were confronted by.
Over the last year the Park has increasingly used the lovely knitted, crochet and even tatted items, made by local people for decorating the Celebration Tree, (mostly ladies, but there might be some men 🙂 ). Well, we now know this art form has a name, Yarn Bombing; and it seems that it is becoming international, with yarn bombing festivals, including one in Hawes. (Apparently the 2015 Tour de Yorkshire kicked off the idea.)
The definition of Yarn Bombing is – Yarn bombing is a street art, a form of graffiti using textiles instead of paint. Yarn bombers might add tags, put up murals, leave messages or cover parts of or whole inanimate objects. The artwork stays up for up to 6-8 weeks.
It is now getting so popular that Yarn Bombing groups are forming so that they can go out and brighten up their local public spaces. The Parkinson’s Park ladies are keen on doing the same – now they’ve got going with Remembrance, Valentines and Easter.
They’ve put together a timetable of themes for the year – to go on the Celebration Tree, or Farm Gate. They’d welcome anyone to join in as well – especially as this is a ‘guerilla’ art form. Patterns for ideas for each theme will be put on the Parkinson’s Park facebook page
Yarn Bombing Plan For 2021
June/July - Bees, Butterflies and Flowers. Start June 6th.
September - Space eg stars and planets. Start Sept 4th ready for the Children's Gala
November - Remembrance week collection for Royal British Legion. Start 7th November
Advent - Christmas decoration Start Wednesday 1st December
To stress, this is open to anyone who’d like to join in with the theme. But if you do want more information email us at email@example.com
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A big thank you to Martyn Smith and Colin Alexander for mending the wall at the Nethercliffe Entrance today. Both are Friends of the Park and also experienced members of Otley and Yorkshire Dales Drystone Walling Group. Both have done walling exhibitions at the Great Yorkshire Show – so we hope the area is now much much improved !!
The wall is one of the original Kelcliffe field walls dating back centuries, and although there was a lot of missing stone, they found enough lying around in other areas of the Park to just finish the repair.
Michael Buckle will now be doing some planting improvements to the entrance with some willow that has been donated by G Clarke Landscaping Ltd. There are also some new trees being planted which has come from a grant for woodland from Betty’s of Harrogate.
If anyone would like to learn dry stone walling, the Group are the ones at Surprise View on the Chevin, and they do regular training courses. Details here
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Earlier this year a planter was installed in the Park, which has now been filled with herbs for community use. The Planter is dedicated to Anne Grant who lived on Kelcliffe Lane for 40 years and died last October after a long illness.
Anne was a friend to many of us locally and took part in many community events held by the neighbours; including an annual bonfire on the allotments, summer garden parties, and winter barn dances. So, her family thought the planter would be a fitting and lasting tribute.
Anne came from Halifax, but was born in Edinburgh, and had a very soft Scots accent. She was an excellent Secretary and married John Grant, a university lecturer, in 1975. They have three children, Andrew, Frances and Christopher who all grew up, like many around here, playing in the Park.
Anne contributed a lot to local groups, including The Chevin Handbell Ringers, and Guiseley in Bloom: she loved both music and flowers. But some of us particularly remember her prowess in anything to do with literature, words and spelling in quizzes.
Anne had a lovely, gentle nature, and was greatly missed by many neighbours when she was admitted to a nursing home permanently a few years ago. But the planter will remind those of us who knew her with great affection, and for others it will provide a means to make food or a walk more pleasurable
Posted inFacilities, Friends|Comments Off on A COMMUNITY HERB PLANTER FOR THE LOVELY ANNE (1942 – 2020)
We decorated the tree for VE Day last year, and today we are using it to say thank you to Prince Philip for his years of service to the United Kingdom and to act as a focus in the park for the period of national mourning at this historic time. (We will also be putting a tribute up in the notice board tomorrow.)
If you would like to leave flowers around the tree, or painted stones you are very welcome too. Any flowers will eventually be composted and the mulch put back around the tree. It is our intention that the Jubilee Oak will act as a focus for any national events in the future.
Posted inEvents|Comments Off on PARK’S JUBILEE TREE COMMEMORATES HRH THE PRINCE PHILIP, DUKE OF EDINBURGH 1921 – 2021
Spring is here and life is returning; a few short weeks ago there was little to be seen, but with some better weather, plant life is gathering pace. Here are some of the Park features this month, Easter weekend is a good time to get out on a nature walk and see what you can spot.
Besides, the daffodils, and primroses, most of which have been planted by the Friends since 2010, there are a variety of other flowers on show.
Lesser Celendine or Pilewort (Ranunculus ficaria)
A relation of the buttercup, Lesser Celendine is found in carpets all round the park. The name celandine itself comes from Latin chelidonia meaning ‘swallow’ because the flowers were said to appear when the swallows returned (in reality they appear much earlier!). The Celts called lesser celandine ‘Grian’ (sun) because of its bright yellow flowers that close up before rain. It was used for the treatment of haemorrhoids, hence its nickname
Spring has arrived and Easter will soon be here: to celebrate we have several events we hope you will enjoy. We’ll firstly be asking everyone to help decorate the Easter Tree, then there will be an Easter Trail for the children, followed by a Dawn Chorus Walk later in the month.
The Silver Birch at the top of the Park has become our seasonal ‘celebration tree’. Over Easter, add your own colourful Easter Egg decorations and ribbons. There’s a crochet Easter egg pattern here but painted, knitted, or other crafts are very welcome. We will have some wooden eggs to decorate in the Easter goody bags linked to the Easter Trail (see below).