Minutes 8 May 2018


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

1 Treasurer’s report

Balance brought forward to include subscriptions, donations and grants - £859.93

HO reported that we haven’t spent much in the past year. She has written one cheque for insurance for work parties. Not yet done anything about this year’s insurance. It is really for events or planting in groups. The insurance does not cover ‘guerilla gardening’. The insurance has run out but it is easy to reinstate should we need to. It was agreed not to take out insurance unless an event is planned.

2 Responsibilities for FoHG committee

Agreement to remain:

  • Charles, the first point of contact and FoHG website.
  • Helen, Treasurer (still would like to step down. Volunteers to replace her would be welcomed)
  • Anna, Secretary
  • Duncan, Chair

2 Pond and Pump

Helen reported that Rob Swanton, a new member of the Committee, who studied Ecology at university, would like to clear out the stream and clean the stream bed. He has donated a floating water hyacinth and some frogspawn.

A lady counted 50 fish and saw large ones.

RS, when doing the streams, came across a couple who stumbled across the park and another couple who hadn’t seen it for 30 years.

Rob Wiltshire of Barnet Council, Parks, will try to kill off the duckweed from the pond. It tends to come and go of its own accord. David Nyman raked out a lot last year. Charles cleared a few weeds around the pond area. The azaleas are alive.

The pump is working. The flotation chamber is working. But it drops quickly if there is no rain. There is probably a crack in the pond. Not losing water when the stream is running.

3 The Arch

The arch has been repaired and fenced. Rob W has arranged to put a new path tarmac path for the side of the pond. A contractor has been arranged to do one strip.

4 Barnet Parks

Rob W is down to less than a handful of people running the whole of Barnet Parks - 4 people! Friends of Highlands Gardens will be invaluable over the coming years.

5 Trees

The horse chestnut came down. It fell across the road between two vans two months ago. It was brown in August and had leaf miner disease - canker, which could have made it fall over. The day the horse chestnut came down, a big branch came off the oak, maybe the walnut and another tree at the top fell across the path - perhaps the hawthorn. Rob cleared it but the contractors just stacked the wood. Rob said they should have taken it away or put it as compost. It is still there.

There are a lot of old trees, although many have been replanted, but not around the edges.

Helen spoke to RW re five trees near the toilet block. It would be nice if they all came down but the neighbours said no. Helen suggested making a ring and to take them out from the middle.
There is a tree officer. Electrical test was made on an oak tree before it came down. A pulse produces a map; they found it had bracket fungus.

6 Litter

There is very little litter these days. And little dog poo. Most people pick it up. The park is very well used; there are always lots of people.

7 Late night visitors

There are still late night visitors after dark. Rebecca thinks it is when the Queens Arms pub is shut. There are Nitrous Oxide capsules everywhere; although it is not as bad as it was two years ago. It is not necessarily the youths but older people. Helen has seen cars coming up Leicester Road/Abbott Road, handing things over between themselves.

8 Gardening

Anyone can carry on pulling up weeds. Helen and husband, Nick, have pruned the wisteria. To the right of the pump-house is an abandoned bed. He is planning to plant orange and yellow scented azaleas there.

The meadow is cut once a year. There is a lot of biodiversity there. Anyone can sow seeds there - as long as they are British. There might be gems. There is primrose, cow-parsley, and vetch.

Helen will ask for a gardening party banner for monthly gardening, which David Nyman is keen to keep going. He will organise an email to be sent out regarding gardening each month. DN

9 Sign posts

It would be good to have a new sign for the meadow, and a sign for the ‘Kentucky coffee’ tree. A sign is needed for the Oak tree near the pond, the old one has disappeared. Helen has a wild flower sign; it just needs a new post. Need treated timber. It is inexpensive. Need someone to put them in. The contractors who fixed the pond sourced posts and put them in. Helen said she could ask Ian. Rob got signs before. Perhaps he could ask the officer who chose the coffee tree? HO

They like putting unusual trees in Highlands Gardens. Leaves on the Kentucky coffee tree appear later in the year. Helen will get a sign written after the leaves have gone after winter. She will also check the tree trail. HO