News November 2013

We have published our latest newsletter. The text is below and the PDF is available via the link at the bottom of the page.

Drained, strained and rained

We are delighted to confirm that the pond in Highlands Gardens has been drained and fixed. It is now slowly filling up with rainwater. The hope is it will fill naturally but it might need topping up. Rob Wiltshire of Barnet Council's Green Spaces Team has been fantastic throughout the process. Rob and his team are taking a special interest in the pond and have installed some underwater planters for water lilies. Those plants should be going in very soon.

Some autumn debris has been cleared away by the indomitable Ian and Roz. Thanks too to other committee members who helped with the clearing out of stream beds. Among them 9 year old Maddie H who spotted some toads!

The pond actually needs a layer of mulch for the newts and toads - so we will be leaving some of the leaves to form an inviting natural environment.

Celebrate Saturday 23rd November 1pm Start

And YOU can help to create that new environment in the gardens.

On 23rd November come rain or shine we will hold a planting session. We will bring hundreds of bulbs - but we want YOU and your children to plant them. If you have a trowel please bring it - but don't worry if you don't have any tools. Even if you stay for just 5 minutes and plant two bulbs it would be great to see you.

There will be some free refreshments to keep you warm. We will have gazebos so bring camping chairs for an outdoor sit down & chat. Bring your family & friends. Everyone is welcome. We have also bought lots of plastic ducks and plan to hold a duck race along the stream for the young (and young at heart).

The aim is to put in the work now so that Highlands Gardens springs into life next year. It will take a little time to get the pond naturalised and looking its best - but we are well on the way to restoring it to its former glory.

Timetable for 23rd November

1pm Gardens Walkaround & Tree Trail Traipsing
Planting Bulbs
2.30pm Duck Race & Refreshments (Including cutting of Cake)

Notice Board

Take a look at the Notice Board in the Gardens for up to date information on our very successful working parties (first Saturday of month from 10am -noon) and other activities.

How did we manage it?

We were able to carry out the work due to being successful in a grant application (thanks Rebecca Hanley) to the Big Lottery Community Spaces who awarded £50,000 and additional supported funding from Barnet Council Green Spaces funding. The project could not have been done without these being awarded. The friends group has been tirelessly led and administered by Helen Oubridge for a number of years and we are delighted for her to finally get to this stage.

The project was managed by Rob Wiltshire on behalf of Barnet Council’s Green Spaces team and by local landscape architect Katy Staton on behalf of the friends of Highlands Gardens. The company who carried out the work was Volker Highways.

Pond Factoids

A terrapin was found in the pond and successfully re-homed.

One worker discovered what appeared to be a large rusted-through iron plug hole in the bottom of the pond by inadvertently stepping into it!

Extra work had to be done when it was discovered the underneath of the waterfall needed stabilising.

The footbridge over the pond has been repaired and repainted.

Future Plans

We are looking to make the Gardens more accessible to those with mobility needs. Barnet Council have repaired some paths and we hope to create better access to the ponds.

We plan to continue planting and improving the look of the gardens perhaps with more shrubs and suitable trees. We thought about creating a small natural staging area for children to play and perform informally. Any more thoughts or wishes???? – Please let us know.

Thank YOU

A big THANK YOU to everyone who uses Highlands Gardens and picks up the litter left by less tidy people. It really makes a difference. Barnet Council do still regularly empty the bins and tidy up, including painting out the graffiti, but anything we can do to keep our space looking good and feeling welcoming can only benefit us.

HG Newsletter - November 2013.pdf233.73 KB