One of the UK’s leading nurseries was selected to provide plants to help restore a community park in South Gloucestershire.
The first planting party at Page Park in Staple Hill took place last Wednesday, September 6 and Gareth Withers, Amenity Sales Executive at Wyevale Nurseries in Hereford, attended.
Gareth explained: “We were delighted to have been picked to supply a large selection of our plants to this wonderful community park. We had a great time at the planting party and it was great to meet some of the members of the local community who get so much joy from this fantastic outside space.
“We provided a good mix of flowering shrubs, herbaceous perennials, ferns and grasses to provide all year-round colour and interest for visitors. The mixed planting will also help to attract birds, wildlife and insects to the park providing both food and shelter.
“Key lines in the first phase of planting included Carex ‘Evergold’, a clump forming grass offering all year colour and variation. The narrow leaves have a central yellow stripe reaching 30cm in height. Veronica ‘Ulster Blue’, a dwarf form of Veronica with densely packed flowering spikes of mid blue blooms from summer through to autumn and Geranium ‘Johnsons Blue’, whose deep purple-blue flowers throughout summer are rounded with dark veins and contrast with deeply lobed leaves.”
The first phase of planting in the park focused on the area around the new Bean Tree Café but there will be two other planting days, one at the end of September and one in mid-November, which will cover the whole of the park.
Page Park is an Edwardian park, which was originally part of the Hill House estate. It was gifted to the community of Staple Hill by benefactor, Alderman Arthur William Page, in 1910.
In 2015, South Gloucestershire Council and the Friends of Page Park, who are a non-profit making, voluntary group of residents and park users, were awarded a grant of £1.6 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund programme called ‘Parks for People’ to restore Page Park over a period of three years.
They were awarded the funding in recognition of the importance of the green space in the ‘heart’ of Staple Hill, where people come to enjoy high quality facilities, outdoor events and activities, to relax and meet other people in a safe, well managed and welcoming setting.
As part of the Heritage Lottery agreement, both South Gloucestershire Council and the Friends of Page Park are required to contribute to the balance of the overall project cost. Friends of Page Park had to raise £17,000 so applied to the Peoples Postcode Lottery and were awarded £20,000. This money has been used to purchase the plants for the new planting scheme around the whole park.
South Gloucestershire Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Tourism, Councillor Heather Goddard, said: “We have been working closely with the local community in the restoration and improvement of this very popular park. Understanding and involving them at every stage will help ensure that the park has a sustainable future.
“Page Park is for everyone to enjoy, and this was reflected in the age range of volunteers helping with the planting. There was a fantastic turn out and it was great to see the enthusiasm of the local community.
“The five-year project also includes an inclusive programme of activities including parkrun, a new junior parkrun and regular Walks for Health as well as the restoration of the park’s facilities.”
The Heritage Lottery funding allowed the Bean Tree Café to be created, as well as a toddler play area, and The Nest, a space for groups and the community to hire with toilets. The renovations to the clock tower and the refurbishment of the tennis pavilion are almost completed. Next on the list is the restoration of the perimeter walls, gates and the reinstatement of the railings that were taken down in the war.
Steph Purser from the Friends of Page Park, whose aim is to protect and improve the park and its facilities for the community and future generations, added: “The plants supplied by Wyevale Nurseries look fantastic and we can’t wait to see them grow and establish themselves in the coming years.
“Page Park is a much-loved green space in a built-up area and we are so pleased that with the Heritage Lottery and the Peoples Postcode Lottery we can really restore the park to its full potential for future generations to come.”