Newsletter Summer 2021

Everyone has found the past 18 months very challenging so it has been very important to have access to all our green spaces in the city.  Many people have helped to keep our park looking good throughout these terrible times so a huge thank you to everyone who grabbed a litter picking stick and a black bag!

Friends of Seaton Park have not been able to hold CakeFest or indeed any other event during pandemic restrictions but things have been happening in the park.  There have been some changes to the planting in the central formal area with fewer of the bedding plants being annually replaced.  However, there is still an abundance of colour and the result is as beautiful as ever.  The fantastic displays are all down to the wonderful work of our lovely gardeners, Derek and Kat.

Friends of Seaton Park volunteers have helped out in other areas of the park.  Last year a lot of work was done in the Walled Garden and this year volunteers have been concentrating on the fountain area.  Recently, an appeal was launched for garden tools.  With publicity from the local press and social media posts, we have been very lucky and are now well stocked up.  So, if you would like to volunteer but were unable to in the past because you did not have your own tools, we can now supply you with tools.  The group meets most Tuesday mornings from 10.00 for a couple of hours.  Please contact friendsofseatonpark@gmail.com for further details.

Able Deen now visit the park every second Friday so if you would like to hire a mobility scooter to explore areas of the park you are currently unable to reach, please check our Facebook page for announcements about which Fridays they will be in the park.

Every Friday from 16th July until 1st October the Allotment Market Stall will be at their usual stance in the park selling fresh produce from local allotments.  Come along and support local growers.

Sheila Gordon, June 2021

Notes from a Neighbouring Green Space

St Machar’s Cathedral has recently undergone some very necessary and extensive repairs to the roof and to the wonderful heraldic ceiling. These works were funded in large part by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and the grant came with conditions, one of which was the improvement of the kirkyard’s biodiversity. This was envisaged as a project that would involve Cathedral members and encourage outreach. 

Planning meetings have taken place over the last nine months (via Teams) between members of the Cathedral congregation, the Cathedral’s outreach and education officers, Aberdeen City Council, who own and manage the kirkyard (represented by Ian Talboys), and other interested organizations: OACC, and FoSP (represented by me). The decision was made to mow the grass in certain areas only once a year, the designated spaces being around the mort house near the Chanonry entrance to the Park, and a much larger area, generally to the east of the Cathedral. The main approach to the Cathedral would be maintained more or less as before, with the addition of plantings of thyme around the gravestones. Events were planned, and parties of schoolchildren are to be invited to visit the kirkyard. 

The new grass-cutting regime has been in place for some time now, and on Saturday 22 May, I and other volunteers barrowed earth and planted thyme around the gravestones that line the path to the Cathedral entrance under the supervision of Ian Talboys. 

On Saturday, 19 June, a ‘Bioblitz’, open to the public, took place in the kirkyard: a survey by natural history experts of the wildlife and flora to be found there. The results were genuinely surprising. Over 80 flowering plants, grasses and mosses were identified, several bird species including swifts, a goldfinch, jackdaw, and buzzard. An orange tipped butterfly was seen, and invertebrates and flying insects were identified. The survey will be repeated at a future date to make comparisons. During the event, Katherine Williams, the outreach officer, led volunteers in planting wildflowers, among them red campion, ox-eye daisies, cowslips, herb Robert, selfheal and others. 

After the Bioblitz was over, I visited the uncut area to the east of the Cathedral, away from the path, and was delighted to see a carpet of daisies and white clover, with large clumps of buttercups and extensive patches of bright blue speedwell. It was colourful, but I was struck most of all by the constant low buzzing of bees of different types as they visited the flowers on that warm summer’s day. 

Margaret Sleeman,  25 June 2021

Friends of Seaton Park hope that everyone continues to enjoy all our wonderful green spaces.  Please pick up after your dog, don’t leave litter and please, please, don’t light fires or barbecues!

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