Minutes 8 May 2019


Present:     Apologies:
Helen Oubridge (Treasurer)
Anna Cordell (Secretary)
Rebecca Hanley
David Nyman
Charles Wicksteed
Patrick Gaskell-Taylor
    Duncan Macdonald

1 Treasurer’s report

Balance brought forward to include subscriptions, donations and grants - £785.58 (Income & Expense summary available on request)

Insured until 2019. Wasn’t spent on anything last year, apart from gardening.

£20 in subs was given last year.

2 Responsibilities for FoHG committee

Agreement to remain:

  • Charles, the first point of contact and FoHG website.
  • Helen, Treasurer
  • Anna, Secretary
  • Duncan has resigned as Chair as he will be leaving London. Thank you so much to Duncan for all his hard work and commitment to FoHG over the years and we wish him and his family the best of luck in his new ventures!
  • Charles Wicksteed has agreed to be Chair.

3 National City’s Park Week - Highlands Gardens Summer Party

National City’s Park Festival takes place 20-29th July 2019. We agreed to coincide this with a party in Highlands Gardens.

The party will take place on Sunday 21st July, 2-4pm. We will advertise it on our Facebook page. It will take the form of a picnic where people can bring their own food and blankets. We will provide some light refreshments - cold food and soft drinks.

Helen will renew the insurance for inclusion of the party, which will be £94. She will be making a saving of £100 by ringing them rather than doing it online.

Some party ideas:

Catapult game; balloon splat; throwing games plus others. Rebecca will contact her daughter’s Scout group for borrowing the Tug-O-War rope; obstacle races

Committee to turn up an hour beforehand.

Helen will advertise the party on Barnet Mums; On Your Doorstep; Trip Down Memory Lane and FoHG Facebook HO

4 British Trust for Ornithology

The BTO were in contact with Helen and Charles. We have not seen the kingfishers for years. A heron has been seen and a red kite. Not seen the green parrots for a while.

5 Barnet Parks

Barnet Council are looking after their bit of the park; bark down, pruned roses etc. They have cut down the self-sown trees over a period of time; they will thin out the conifers over time. Rob Wiltshire has money until the end of April to do the tarmac but it is yet to be done. They will plant azaleas and rhododendrons in the bed towards top of the park, past the old pump-house on right hand side.

They have cut back the laurels.

Nobody seems to come to the gardening club. We will continue doing it and advertising it for another year or so and if no change, will ask the Council to take over. In the meantime, anyone can pull up weeds if they wish.

David will contribute blue clematis. It would need aftercare. Or could put sedum on top, which doesn’t need much watering. Clematis can go in the ground at the bottom of the park arch. David has also offered some plug plants, pink and white, yellow in centre. They grow to foot high. Could experiment with them. They are good in dry soil.

6 Pond and Pump

There were lilies on the pond last year but not this year.

David is concerned about the leaves and twigs in the streams. However, we need to wait until the spawn turn into frogs before touching anything. Charles assured that it is fine to have the leaves and twigs in there; the pond is deep enough that the sediment doesn’t need to be cleaned out for 15 years.

There has been little rain and the pond is very low. You can easily see the crack which is appearing again. Many discussions have been made about fixing the crack, which is a great challenge due the 100 year old concrete. Helen spoke with Rob about injecting silicon into the lining amongst other methods, such as clay but none of it will work. Butyl liner might work but would only last for 20 years or so. The crack runs vertically up the side of the pond. It is in the large pond on the right as you look at the waterfall.

7 The Arch

We might be able to plant the arch at the party.

8 Newsletter

Helen will make a start with the Newsletter, which will include advertising the party, bird list, and subs form. She will look at getting a cheaper printer. Once printed, the committee will divide them up to post them in the local area. HO & Committee

9 ADDENDUM - 18.05.2019

Since the AGM, Helen bumped into Rob Wiltshire from the Barnet Council Parks.

The Council have re-organised the Greenspaces team again, for the better this time! They have split the parks into 3 areas and Rob is back to having just our area to look after soon (one more appointment needs to be made, but it is happening). Regarding Highlands Gardens, he has already put alpines on the arch and is planning to take up the grass within the arch’s fence and replace it with perennials.

He asked if the Friends group would still like to keep the gardening going. Helen asked him to give us another season and see how it goes, and that we’ll call him if we don’t get enough help.

Rob is going to ask the contractors who dealt with the stream bed to have another look at the crack in the pond, as he has some section 106 money that must be spent on a pond. How fortuitous!. He also told her that he is trying to match all the benches in any one park, so Highlands Gardens will be getting new or refurbished benches that all match, over the next few months.

Helen mentioned briefly about the party and he was pleased to hear about it.