Grass Clippings

August is an always an interesting month at the Club in that while Members are away on holiday, it’s one of the major times for planning events for the rest of the year. For all the sports, we have been booking in supplies of materials and getting equipment ready for autumn renovation processes. As well as keeping on top of mowing and weeding areas, we are trimming the many hundreds of metres of hedging around the courts and gardens. We are also putting together plans for 2022 projects and winter works, making it a busy time for the course and grounds section. This week seems to be encapsulated by one word – grey. As cloudy skies dominate, I wonder where this Indian summer everyone was talking about went? For the final full week of meteorological summer, we shall expect a high pressure to build across the UK from 23rd August which will give some better weather for the end of British Summer Time.

All change for the Chelsea Flower Show

The first autumn Chelsea Flower Show in its history will have a different vibe to the normal spring event. It is also going to see a bit of a mix up of contributors in that the show will clash with the Malvern Autumn Show (25-26 September) and the Harrogate Autumn show (on 17-19 September). This has meant that several large companies have been pulled toward pinning their loyalties to different regions and events. As a consequence Chelsea will not see Hillier, Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants, Dibley’s as well as most of the rose growers and many spring plants nurseries in attendance this September. Filling in will be other plant specialist growers such as chrysanthemum and peony nurseries, as well as succulent propagators for the first time. The Main Avenue in 2021 features show gardens from Harris/Bugg (M&G) built by Crocus, Robert Myers (Burdett Trust), Tom Massey (Yeo Valley), Guangzhou (Chen and Chmiel), Jonathan Snow (Trailfinders), COP26 (Marie-Louise Agius) built by David Dodd’s The Outdoor Room and BBC One Show/RHS garden by Arit Anderson built by Mark Gregory’s Landform Consultants. Royal Hospital Way has Sanctuary gardens from Boodles, Sarah Eberle, Alan Williams, Sokdihul and Suksong and Naomi Ferrett-Cohen, as well as five Balcony Gardens. There are artisan gardens from Blue Diamond, Guide Dogs and Calm of Bangkok in Ranelagh Gardens. It will be a different format which will interest some and others will not be so in favour of, but I am sure the BBC coverage of the event will be thoughtful and stimulating to all gardeners alike.

Not a Stairway to Heaven?

An idea which should have attracted both Londoners and tourists to flock to the city this summer has turned into a white elephant of a project and led to the deputy leader of a London council responsible for the ballooning costs, to step down. It is of course the Marble Arch Mound for which total costs nearly doubled to £6m, up from a forecast of £3.3m. The 25-metre-high mound, designed by Dutch architects MVRDV, had been intended to attract visitors back to the heart of London, for a novel view of the centre of the city from the top of Oxford Street. The artists impressions of the project show an impressive, lush green peak which is festooned with trees and shrub planting. As most people would have seen from media reports, the reality has been a little less glamorous. It is a hard task trying to make such a feature look established in a short time frame, especially on a grand scale. Planting a multi-dimensional outcrop and keeping it alive through a British summer which swings from bone dry to swamp conditions is a hard task to achieve. Westminster City Council intentions were probably honourable in that they wished to bring people back into the heart of the city, at a time when the country was re-opening after the pandemic. Sadly, this has attracted attention for all the wrong reasons. Foresight is a valuable commodity.

Help Nature Thrive in the city

The Royal Parks charity is highlighting the impact of discarded rubbish on wildlife as part of its Help Nature Thrive campaign this summer. It is asking visitors to ‘leave no trace’ and to take their rubbish home or put it in bins. In the last year 1,982 tonnes of waste were collected from across the Royal Parks, costing The Royal Parks £1.3 million a year to collect and dispose of across its 5,000 acres of parks. Images of a plastic bag tightly wrapped around a stag’s mouth, a hedgehog caught on film entangled in a party balloon and a cormorant with a plastic beer-pack ring round its neck are among the most distressing effects of littering seen by The Royal Parks’ staff this year. Throughout the different lockdowns and beyond, piles of plastic bags filled with left-over picnic waste and disposable PPE items have been proving hazardous to wildlife.  Visitors are also reminded to ‘leave no trace’ by not lighting barbecues, which are not permitted in the parks, sticking to paths, not picking flowers and not attaching exercise equipment to trees.


Peter Bradburn, Course and Grounds Manager –