Stanley Park Voted UK’s Best Park

Stanley Park Voted UK’s Best Park: Fields in Trust’s search to find the nation’s favourite park has declared Stanley Park in Blackpool as the UK’s Best Park 2019 following a public vote.

The UK’s Best Park is organised by green space charity Fields in Trust who, for over 90 years, have legally protected parks and green spaces ensuring they will always be available for future generations to enjoy. A record 364 nominations were received for the UK’s Best Park 2019. Those nominations were supported by visitors, communities, Friends of Parks groups, and local authority landowners. An unprecedented total of 36,832 votes were cast for parks and green spaces across the UK.

Stanley Park Voted UK’s Best Park

Stanley Park in Blackpool topped the poll, in its nomination it was described as “… a beautiful, tranquil place away from the hustle and bustle of the Blackpool seafront”. The “great volunteers and staff who keep it in tip top condition” were also recognised in the online nomination.

Stanley Park triumphed over the other Home Nation winners shortlisted for UK’s best park:

  • Antrim Castle Gardens, Antrim, Northern Ireland
  • Cyfarthfa Park, Merthyr Tydfil, Wales.
  • Pittencrieff Park Dunfermline, Scotland.

In addition, 73 parks and green spaces have achieved “Much Loved” status, having been placed in the top 20% of all UK’s Best Park 2019 nominations throughout the UK. The “Much Loved” status recognises the support of local people who regularly use and love these parks and green spaces.

The UK’s Best Park Award recognises the role that parks play in our communities, supporting mental and physical health and providing a space for communities to connect. Recently Fields in Trust published the Green Space Index a new barometer of parks provision which revealed that over 2.6 million people across Great Britain live more than ten-minutes’ walk from a park or green space. With public sector cuts leading to pressure on parks and green spaces, there is the risk that a lack of legal protection could lead to more spaces being sold off or developed.

The charity is concerned that many parks and green spaces are under threat and are at risk of being lost to development or a cycle of decline and disappearance.

Fields in Trust Chief Executive, Helen Griffiths said: We received a record number of 364 nominations for local parks and green spaces across the UK – each one setting out what is special about their own green space. Public support has been unprecedented with 36,800 votes cast demonstrating that people really do love their local park. Congratulations to Stanley Park, and to the dedicated volunteer friends’ group and Blackpool council that maintain and support the UK’s Best Park 2019.

Parks are important places where we all go to play, enjoy sport, relax in natural surroundings and connect with our neighbours. Fields in Trust is committed to protecting these vital parts of the UK’s community infrastructure for future generations to enjoy.”

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Best Park Shortlist Announced

Best Park Shortlist Announced: Four parks from across the UK have been shortlisted in Fields in Trust’s search to find the UK’s Best Park. Castle Gardens, Antrim; Cyfarthfa Park, Merthyr Tydfil; Pittencrieff Park, Dunfermline and Stanley Park, Blackpool have each been shortlisted following a public vote.

The UK’s Best Park is organised by green space charity Fields in Trust who, for over 90 years, have legally protected parks and green spaces ensuring they will always be available for future generations to enjoy. A record 364 nominations were received for UK’s Best Park 2019. Those nominations were supported by park users, communities, Friends of Parks groups, and landowners and an unprecedented total of 36,832 votes were cast for parks and green spaces across the UK.

Best Park Shortlist Announced

The shortlisted parks are:

  • Antrim Castle Gardens, Antrim. The nomination identified that Antrim Castle Gardens has completed a transformation “… from local gem to national treasure” and recognised the “passionate team driven by the ambition to put their place on the map”.
  • Cyfarthfa Park, Merthyr Tydfil was identified as “…a park for people of all ages and interests”. The park was celebrated for its “…sensory garden and meadowlands which provide a haven of tranquillity”; and “The woodland walks, a delight for dog walkers and nature-lovers …  it is a park for all”.
  • Pittencrieff Park in Dunfermline, Scotland is known locally as “The Glen” and was celebrated for its diversity “… from kid’s areas to glasshouses, peacock sanctuary and historical features …. rocky waterfalls, imaginative paths, well-stocked, neatly trimmed flower beds and herb gardens”.
  • Stanley Park, Blackpool, was described as “… a beautiful, tranquil place away from the hustle and bustle of the Blackpool seafront”. The “great volunteers and staff who keep it in tip-top condition” were also recognised in the online nomination.

In addition, 73 parks and green spaces have achieved “Much Loved” status, having been placed in the top 20% of all UK’s Best Park 2019 nominations throughout the UK. The “Much Loved” status recognises the support of local people who use and love these parks and green spaces.

Fields in Trust is a UK-wide charity that since 1925 has been legally protecting parks and green spaces in perpetuity. The UK’s Best Park Award recognises the role that parks play in our communities, supporting mental and physical health and bringing people together. The charity is concerned that many parks and green spaces are under threat and are at risk of being lost to development or a cycle of decline and disappearance.

Fields in Trust recently published research, the Green Space Index, which revealed that over 2.5 million people across Great Britain do not have access to a local park within ten minutes walk from home. With public sector cuts leading to pressure on parks and green spaces, there is a risk that a lack of legal protection could lead to more being sold off or developed. Yet these vital outdoor spaces deliver health and wellbeing benefits to those that use them regularly. Fields in Trust research reveals that overall, parks and green spaces contribute £34 billion each year in health and wellbeing benefits to their regular users and save the NHS £111million each year simply in avoided GP appointments.

Fields in Trust Chief Executive, Helen Griffiths said: “The increased number of parks nominated, and a record number of votes cast, show just how much the UK’s local green spaces are cherished by the people who use them. Recognising the UK’s Best Park is a way of revaluing our green spaces for the physical and mental health benefits they provide to their local communities. I congratulate all our “Much-Loved” parks and green spaces and wish the four Home Nation winners well for the UK’s Best Park award which we will announce on September 12th. 

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New Spades From WOLF-Garten

New Spades From WOLF-Garten: Every gardener needs a strong and durable spade for digging, breaking and moving soil around the garden.

WOLF-Garten has launched two brand new spade designs for 2019 that have been specifically designed to deal with extreme loads and difficult tasks. The new Straight Spade and Pointed Spade are made from durable and long-lasting materials to provide years of hard work in the garden.

New Spades From WOLF-Garten

Both feature a sharp baron steel blade, which has been induction-hardened for extra strength to easily penetrate tough surfaces, whilst stiffening ribs ensure the spades do not bend after prolonged use.

Long robust handles reduce strain on the back; each has a reinforced steel shaft with a non-slip sleeve for secure grip and comfort. The ergonomically designed D-grip handle provides safety and comfort, whilst the tread edge enables users to add more pressure whilst digging, making ground work fast and effective.

The Straight Spade can be used for digging lighter soils, whilst the Pointed Spade is better suited for breaking up and digging harder, stony soil with ease.

Both spades are backed up by a reassuring 10-year guarantee. To view the full WOLF-Garten range, visit its new website: www.wolfgarten-tools.co.uk.  All WOLF-Garten products are available through leading garden centres nationally.

You can also find WOLF-Garten on Twitter at @WOLFGartenUK and on Facebook by searching for WOLF-Garten UK.

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Wildflower Provide ‘Living Green Roof’ To Leeds Skelton Lake Services

Wildflower Provide ‘Living Green Roof’ To Leeds Skelton Lake Services: The UK’s most prominent wildflower experts, Wildflower Turf Ltd, will be helping to enhance the biodiversity of the £60M Leeds Skelton Lake Services when the ‘new concept’ Motorway Service Area (MSA) opens on the M1 later this year.

Leeds Skelton Lake Services will include a 100-bedroom Hotel and a Food Court Building providing a wide range of Food & Beverage and ancillary retail outlets, a Wildlife Centre and a dedicated Business Centre.

Wildflower Provide ‘Living Green Roof’ To Leeds Skelton Lake Services

With the new MSA occupying a lakeside environment, the integration of the Hotel and Food Court Building in a way that is sympathetic to its surroundings has been of the utmost importance. Wildflower Turf Ltd are working closely with the Landscape Architect, Smeeden Foreman, and Wetherby-based Brambledown Landscapes Ltd to deliver an enhanced landscape that fits seamlessly into the local environment.

The innovative design of the main building showcases a unique and eye-catching undulating roof that will utilise wildflowers, supplied by the team at Wildflower Turf Ltd and installed by ABG Ltd.

The ‘Living Roof’ will be soil-less and consist of up to 41 native UK wildflower species that will provide a haven for bees and other invertebrates while delivering significant aesthetic appeal and ensuring that the building blends into its lakeside location.

Managing Director of Wildflower Turf Ltd, James Hewetson-Brown, said, “We are delighted that one of our wildflower roofs will be showcased at Leeds Skelton Lake Services. As awareness of the importance of biodiverse habitats increase, this new concept in MSA shows that the built environment can exist harmoniously with, and indeed give back to, the natural landscape.”

Andrew Long, CEO of Extra MSA said: “Throughout the detailed planning phase of Leeds Skelton Lake Services, we were acutely aware of our responsibility to the site’s natural surroundings. This new MSA will be a truly revolutionary design in the UK, providing critical safety infrastructure for this part of the motorway network, in a sustainable and visually appealing way.”

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Wilkinson Sword’s New Ultralight Collection Products

Wilkinson Sword’s New Ultralight Collection Products: Gardeners looking to breeze through this season’s gardening tasks needn’t look any further than the Wilkinson Sword Ultralight collection. The range delivers strong, expertly crafted and stylish garden tools in a comfortable, featherweight package that weighs up to 50 percent less than its traditional counterparts.

Following the initial success of the Ultralight range, Wilkinson Sword found there was an overwhelming demand for a wider collection of lightweight tools for tasks all around the garden. This prompted a further enhancement of the cutting range as well as an expansion into cultivating tools. As a result, the range now features a total of 15 products for pruning, cultivating, hedge care and lawn care.

Wilkinson Sword's New Ultralight Collection Products

Digging in the garden can often be a laborious job, but by using the new Ultralight Digging Spade, this once backbreaking task is made easy. This spade has a serrated edge that allows you to break up the soil and dig with ease and is strong enough to cope with heavy loads, despite weighing up to 40 percent less than a traditional digging spade.

Essential for planting, potting and weeding, the Ultralight Trowel and Ultralight Hand Fork feature rust-resistant stainless-steel heads which easily glide into the soil. The ergonomically-designed handles have been shaped to sit comfortably in hand whilst working.

Ideal for clearing leaves and hedge clippings from the lawn, the new Ultralight Adjustable Lawn Rake will help keep the garden free from debris and weighing just 810g (30 percent lighter than a standard garden rake), this minimises strain on the gardener. In addition, it has a raking width which can be adjusted from 19cm to 56cm, making it perfect for working under and around shrubs and borders. This tool can also be compacted down for easy storage.

Other new additions to the Ultralight cultivating tools include a Garden Rake, Dutch Hoe, Edging Knife and Shovel.

The cutting range has also been further enhanced with two new pruners. The Ultralight Bypass Pruner and Ultralight Anvil Pruner have high carbon steel blades which can cut through stems up to 15mm thick. Thanks to the reduced weight, hand fatigue is significantly reduced, making these easier to use for longer periods of time. Another new addition is the Ultralight Single Handed Grass Shear, which has a 360-degree full swivel blade to cut lawn edges perfectly and is up to 30 percent lighter than standard hand grass shears. These tools join an already popular cutting range including hedge shears and tree cutters.

Another new addition is the Ultralight Single Handed Grass Shear, which has a 360-degree full swivel blade to cut lawn edges perfectly and is up to 30 percent lighter than standard hand grass shears. These tools join an already popular cutting range including hedge shears and tree cutters.

Each tool within this collection is significantly lighter than standard gardening tools, yet they still provide the quality, strength and cutting excellence you would expect from this trusted brand.

All Wilkinson Sword garden tools carry the reassuring Wilkinson Sword 10-year guarantee.

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Jensen Support Fundraising Initiative

Jensen Support Fundraising Initiative: For the second consecutive year Jensen woodchippers have offered their support to a charity Christmas tree collection run by Dorothy House Hospice Care which has raised over £26,000 this Christmas, and £40,000 over the two years Jensen have been involved.

Once again Dorothy House and Wiltshire College & University Centre have joined forces for a Christmas tree collection and recycling scheme, with volunteers collecting more than 2,300 trees from across the region and delivering 300 of them to the college’s Lackham campus for chipping and recycling with support from Jensen.

Jensen Support Fundraising Initiative

Local hospice Dorothy House provides compassionate end of life care and support for patients with life-limiting illnesses and their families and carers in Bath and North East Somerset, Wiltshire and Somerset.

The Wiltshire College & University Centre Lackham site is a dedicated landbased campus providing qualifications in subjects such as agriculture, land and wildlife management and horticulture. Jensen are the original manufacturer of woodchippers, built in Germany since 1884 and distributed in the UK by the Machinery Imports division of the T H WHITE Group, whose head office is based in Devizes, Wiltshire.

Jensen UK Business Manager, Bill Johnston, was delighted to spend the day at the Lackham campus with students from the Horticulture and Countryside Management departments, teaching them skills in the safe use of woodchippers and sharing his wealth of industry knowledge about the arboricultural sector and the Jensen woodchipper brand.

“We’re delighted to offer our support for this fantastic fundraising initiative in partnership with Dorothy House and Wiltshire College & University Centre once again” says Bill.

“Not only are we assisting Dorothy House in their esteemed efforts to recycle the trees but giving Lackham students valuable experience with the woodchippers and guaranteeing that the trees don’t go to waste, so everybody wins.”

On hand to reduce all 300 trees was the Jensen A540 woodchipper, which with its powerful feed roller grip, wide hopper and 8-inch chipping capacity made light work of even the bulkiest trees.

Bill also brought along the best-selling A530 towed woodchipper to show the students, which at sub-750kg and with a 6” capacity proves consistently popular with arborists across the UK.

Phil Nicholls, Gardener at Lackham, said: “We’ve filled almost two trailers with chippings now, all of which will be reused around the Lackham site. This is a great opportunity to support the Dorothy House charity, teach the students something new and ensure that all of these trees have a chance to be recycled where they may have otherwise ended up in landfill”.

Verity Clark, Community Fundraiser for Dorothy House Hospice Care said: “This was our third Christmas tree collection and we’re glad to have helped local people recycle over 2,360 used Christmas trees while also raising £26,000 of vital funds for Dorothy House. A big thank you to all our volunteers and supporters for their generous help and thanks also to all involved in recycling and chipping our trees at Wiltshire College Lackham.”

For more information on the range of quality Jensen woodchippers and to book your own free, no-obligation demonstration, visit www.jensenwoodchippers.co.uk

Find out more about Dorothy House Hospice Care at www.dorothyhouse.org.uk, and more on the courses available at Lackham at www.wiltshire.ac.uk.

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BASF Launch Nematode Challenge

BASF Launch Nematode Challenge: BASF, the leading producer of beneficial nematodes used as pest control in British gardens, is on the search for volunteers to take part in its 2019 Nematode Challenge.

The Sussex-based company grows trillions of beneficial nematodes for use in its Nemasys range of pest controls. After an initial launch in 2017, the company has decided to run its Nematode Challenge for 2019. It will also, for a second successive year exclusively be launched in conjunction with the National Allotment Society (NAS).

BASF Launch Nematode Challenge

The representative body has over 125,000 members in which it assists them to acquire, maintain, manage and enjoy allotments across the UK.

Diane Appleyard, marketing co-ordinator at the NAS said: “We are thrilled to be working with BASF again to help build awareness of the benefits of nematodes. By working together, we can educate our members on how to keep their allotments pest-free whilst also having fun outdoors in our garden or allotment – a win-win situation!”

If you have not yet tried nematodes, then you will be surprised at just how simple and easy they are in helping get rid of garden or allotment pests. All of the six products are simply mixed with water and either applied from a watering can with a coarse rose or sprayed onto the foliage and soil, depending on the variety.

This process is repeated throughout the season, from the moment that the first signs of pests occur and can be easily slotted into your regular watering routine. There is no need to keep children or pets away from treated areas and the whole programme is entirely biological, meaning all the products can be used by organic gardeners.

Despite this simplicity, and their many benefits, many gardeners and growers are put off by them, thinking them to be too complicated or expensive.

So, in order to tackle this mindset, BASF is looking for 25 volunteers across the UK to give beneficial nematodes a try and to report on their results. The allotment gardeners will represent a diverse range soil types and growing problems, along with, no doubt, preconceptions about nematodes.

Volunteering couldn’t be easier, and the whole process is designed to be as easy as possibly, adding as little work to the allotments-holders as possible. To get involved, all you have to do is email sarahbryan@paskett.co.uk by 8th April 2019.

Successful volunteers will be supplied with a free season’s worth of Nemaslug, along with a short, initial questionnaire to fill in, which will contain questions such as:

  • Where is your allotment garden?
  • What do you grow?
  • How would you rate your recent slug problems?
  • Which pest control products do you usually use?
  • Which have been successful?
  • Do you actively encourage wildlife into your allotment?

In late September, results and feedback questionnaires will be circulated, containing questions about how the volunteers found their experience of using Nemaslug, and whether they would use it again.

This is a great opportunity to try something new, and you may just find your new favourite pest control solution!

If you are interested, please get in touch and we will send further information.

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Tackle Spring Pests With Nemaslug and Nemasys

Tackle Spring Pests With Nemaslug And Nemasys: As spring edges closer, now is the time of year dedicated to patrolling your garden to make sure no pests take over. If steps are not taken to tackle your pests now, they can become damaging to plants and vegetables as we move into the warmer months. Taking action now will ensure your time and hard effort is not lost.

But as the weather starts to warm up, which pests do I need to tackle first? Over the autumn and winter months, vine weevil larvae stay beneath the soil and feed on roots, causing plants to wilt and die, and if they survive, the grown adult weevils then eat plant leaves during spring and summer, resulting in irregular-shaped notches on the leaves. Also, slugs begin to make an appearance from March as the British climate makes the perfect breeding ground for them.

Tackle Spring Pests With Nemaslug and Nemasys

Nemasys and Nemaslug offer the perfect solutions to pest control, and the various species grown by BASF, in the only specialist nematode production facility in Britain, can protect your plants from a variety of pests.  BASF grow six different nematodes, all of which are simply mixed with water and either applied from a watering can with a coarse rose or sprayed onto the foliage and soil, depending on the variety. There is no need to keep children or pets away from treated areas and the whole programme is entirely biological so that all the Nemasys products can be used by organic gardeners.

Nemasys Vine Weevil Killer: apply from March to October

Vine weevils are beetles with a long, thin snout. It is actually the larvae of the weevil that causes the main damage to plants, as they remain in the soil and eat the roots. Nemasys Vine Weevil Killer targets the larvae while they are still in the soil and kills them before they have a chance to cause damage.

A regular regime of using Nemasys Vine Weevil Killer every four weeks throughout the growing season is the best way to control the pets.

Nemaslug: apply from March to October

With each slug laying up to 300 eggs, in up to 50 separate batches during a season – that’s a lot of slugs! It is estimated that each cubic metre of soil can contain around 200 grown slugs. The best time to target slugs is when they are newly hatched, so the period between March – October is ideal. As nematodes are able to travel through the soil, to where the newly hatched and young slugs’ dwell, they are able to attack them before they are even in sight, unlike slug pellets.

A regular regime of using Nemaslug every six weeks throughout this period, from March to October, is the most effective way to keep slugs controlled throughout the growing season which will help keep your plants safe.

Stock Up On Pest Control For Warmer Winter Months

Stock Up On Pest Control For Warmer Winter Months: It is becoming clear that the planet is becoming warmer and warmer each year, and particularly in 2018 gardens have experienced the full force of Mother Nature. From the Beast from the East in March bringing endless amounts of snow to the scorching hot summer in July, the growth of grass, plants and trees may have taken a hit. But as we coast into winter, we have been experiencing increasingly mild temperatures for this time of year – with a number of pests staying put in the garden instead of hibernating away as they would usually.

Because of this warmer winter weather, it is creating the perfect breeding ground for slugs to still attack and wreak havoc in your garden, even in the winter. This is why it is important to stock up and take control with pest solutions now in preparation for the uncertain weather temperatures ahead.

Stock Up On Pest Control For Warmer Winter Months

The slug killer, Nemaslug by BASF, offers a biological solution to pest control and can protect your vegetables, fruit, flowers, shrubs and trees from a variety of pests – even in December. To use, all you do is mix the product with water and apply from a watering can with a coarse rose over the soil area. The temperature of the soil you are treating should be nothing lower than 5 degrees Celsius, which for December this would usually pose an issue, but for the climatic weather, it is not been a problem this year. Also, there is no need to keep children or pets away from treated areas and the whole programme is entirely biological.

Individual slugs are capable of breeding throughout the year but do so typically in times of favourable conditions, warm and wet weather, and it would seem even in December and January. If you were to leave the slugs be until the spring season, which is when pest control typically begins, you would find foliar damage which would be severe enough to cause significant plant loss on a vast number of susceptible crops very early in the season.

Nemaslug orders can be placed online, with an entire season’s worth being sent out as and when needed. This means that you can tackle the slugs in the garden now but also be prepared for the spring and summer months ahead – allowing you to concentrate on planting and growing in your garden, safe in the knowledge that your pest control is taken care of.

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10 Years Of Wildflowers For Hampshire Manor

10 Years Of Wildflowers For Hampshire Manor: A Hampshire wildflower meadow, grown and supplied by Wildflower Turf Ltd in 2008, has recently reached the ripe old age of ten.

A decade after it was installed at Grade II listed Ashley Manor in the Test Valley, the wildflower meadow continues to thrive and provide a safe haven for an abundance of wildlife. Improving long term biodiversity and ensuring a species rich habitat is now an important goal for landscape designers, and Ashley Manor is testament that a well-maintained wildflower meadow offers great longevity and can be relied upon to provide colour and interest year after year.

10 Years Of Wildflowers For Hampshire Manor

At the commencement of the original landscaping endeavour in September 2008, Wildflower Turf, a soil-less, pre-grown wildflower mat, was installed across two tiers of the steep south and west facing banks to the rear of Ashley Manor.

In total, 655m² of Wildflower Turf was laid and, despite the challenging profile of the banks and only a thin layer of top soil to work with, the installation of the turf was achieved without the use of pegging. A late-summer installation also meant that the turf did not require any additional watering.

The turf rooted in quickly and established itself well over the winter months, flowering beautifully in the spring and summer of 2009. The perennial Red Campion variety did particularly well on the lower slopes and the turf also acted very successfully as a weed suppressing mat.

The wildflower meadow at Ashley Manor also formed a home for a number of mammals and invertebrates, with voles and slow worms quickly taking up residence.

As well as the obvious aesthetic and wildlife benefits, ten years of meadow management has also given Ashley Manor’s Head Gardener, Olly Samways, ample opportunity to trial and perfect his meadow cutting regime.

Initially, a two-cut approach was used, with the first cut usually undertaken in late June. This regime greatly assisted with the initial establishment of the late season varieties in the turf, as well as allowing for the removal of old growth that would have otherwise started to compost and raise nutrient levels by the autumn.  In recent years Olly has swapped to a single-cut regime, with the meadow beneficially requiring less maintenance as it has matured.

Managing Director of Wildflower Turf Ltd, James Hewetson-Brown, said, “We already knew from the 15-year-old Wildflower Turf meadow at our production site that, if properly established, wildflowers offer a long-term solution requiring little maintenance.  Olly’s positive feedback over all these years has expanded our knowledge and confidence in our products and we are grateful for his interest and passion.”

Ashley Manor Head Gardener, Olly Samways concurs, “Our experience with our Wildflower Turf over the last decade has been excellent and I have no reservations at all about waxing lyrical about it to anyone who asks about it.” Olly continued, “Whenever I give tours around the garden, the wildflower areas continue to draw the most interest, as they have done every year since the turf was installed.”

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