Wednesday, 6 April 2022

Preparing for the Secret Gardens 2022

The Plant stall in 2017

 After a couple of years overshadowed by the threat of the Covid Pandemic, 2022 marks the year when things can return to a more normal routine.  Therefore, no more virtual Secret Gardens!

Sunday 8th May is the date for the real event to take place, which we are all looking forward to, bringing the local community together once more. What better way than to visit beautiful gardens, as nature has sustained us during the dark times of the pandemic.

Our Friends Group will be organising and running the plant stall at the event.  It will be in its usual spot, in front of The Willows in the centre of Oxton Village.  Once again, we will be offering a free plant creche, so you can leave your purchases while you peruse the gardens.  

As the weather warms up, many of those keen gardeners among you will be busy dividing plants, potting on, taking cuttings or simply growing from seed.  Please spare a thought for the upcoming event and see if you can donate to our stall.  We welcome plants, terracotta pots, gardening books and gardening tools you may want to add to the stall.  We have always been well supported and delighted by the amount of plants that we receive which helps to make the plant stall so popular and a huge success.

Your donations can be dropped off at 1 Ingestre Road a few days before the 8th May. ( If nobody is in, leave them by the porch ). If you would like them to be collected, then you can call Peter on 07717 291 947. Please label your plants, especially if they are rare.  Alternatively, you can drop them off at the stall from 8.30am on the Sunday 8th May.  All sales will be cash only.  Thank you in advance for your generosity and support.

Original Steps.

Our gardening volunteers play a vital role in the work we do in the Rose Garden, Quarry area and the Oxton Fields. We meet on Monday mornings (weather permitting) at 10am in the Rose Garden.  Here you can see three of our hard working team enjoying a well deserved brew by our shed and potting area.  

We set regular goals for ourselves, with mass bulb planting sessions, or composting the hanging baskets from Oxton village, and many more.  It was an idea to try to uncover the original steps which our local ancestors would have trodden to get down into the Quarry.  Local men would play quoits in the Quarry on a Sunday, while children played on the seesaw.

When the Earl of Shrewsbury gifted the land to be used as a recreational ground, it officially opened on the 30th March 1912.

In the very old picture postcard above you can see the original steps which you could take down into the Quarry when entering the park from Ingestre Road.

Here you can see some of our regular volunteers embarking on the huge task of uncovering the original steps which led down from the top path. It has become extremely overgrown and the steps are hidden below lots of soil and ivy.


Finally, the original steps start to appear.  Here you can see one of our volunteers John Fairclough hard at work.

Although the top path is edged with railings now so that you have to enter the quarry a safer way further along, it is still fascinating to uncover the past and imagine what it would have been like in its heyday, back over 100 years ago.  Now our generation will be able to walk those steps once more, steps which have been hidden for so long.  Hopefully it will inspire others to read about the history of their local area. 

The Queen's Green Canopy.

2022 marks the Platinum Jubilee of our monarch Queen Elizabeth II.  As part of this amazing milestone, an initiative called The Queen's Green Canopy was formed.  As well as encouraging everyone  to plant more trees across the country, a dedicated network of 70 ancient woodlands will be set up, and 70 of the oldest trees in the country will be identified to mark Her Majesty's 70 years of service to her country.


Chairperson Annette Capper lending a shovel


This will provide more sustainable countryside for future generations.  Wirral Borough Council is planting thousands of trees across the borough from October 2021 to March 2022 and more will be planted in the coming dormant season from late October 2022.  The Council already aims to double its number of trees by 2030.

Our Friends Group took part in tree planting for the Queen's Green Canopy on Saturday 26th March.  Nicola Wallbank (Council landscaper) provided us with between 250/260 native tree whips, which were planted on the Oxton Fields. Councillor Allan Brame also came to help with the planting.


Sunday, 16 January 2022

Threats to the Arno and Oxton Fields.

 As you are already probably aware, Wirral Borough Council is in a dire financial situation.  They need to make huge savings in order to balance their books.  They have come up with suggestions to claw back money.  Some of these proposals include the closure of libraries, sports centres and public golf courses, as well as a reduction or cessation of the maintenance of several green spaces across the borough.

Our Liberal Democrat Councillor Allan Brame has brought this to our attention, as " The Arno and Oxton Fields ........are to be included in the proposal to significantly increase cessation of maintenance of amenity green space, including up to 10-15 Local parks/recreation grounds, and highway verges."

This poses a real threat to the future of the Arno and Oxton Fields. 

If you want to object to these plans and show us your support, please sign the petition.  You can either go to Wirral Liberal Democrats Save The Arno & Oxton Fields  and submit your support online, or click on the link below to find a form which you can collect signatures on and put in the post.

All signatures must be submitted before the 20th February 2022. 

Click on the link below ( which will open in a new window )

Petition Form 

Sunday, 3 October 2021

Spring Bulb Planting

 On the 2nd October, we arranged to spend our first Saturday of the month event planting bulbs.  Areas at the side of the pathway into the Arno from Ingestre Road, as well as beside the entrance to the Quarry, had been cleared of weeds in preparation for planting.  Despite the weather being damp and dismal, many volunteers turned out at 10am with gloves and trowels to help get all the bulbs into the ground.

 There were 650 bulbs in total of five different varieties.  We arranged the bulbs first in random groups with the taller varieties at the back, smallest near to the front edges of the pathways.  It didn't take us long to plant them all. By 11.30 am all the work was finished and our Chairperson Annette Capper was ready in the shed with hot drinks and biscuits. All we need do now is wait for the Spring with a view to seeing all the delightful Spring flowers poking up through the ground.

Fingers crossed the local squirrels don't find them before they get a chance to grow!

Wednesday, 4 August 2021

First Saturday volunteering

This coming Saturday 7th August is when we generally meet to work in the Rose Garden.  You can join us in volunteering at 10am when we gather to see which jobs we can concentrate on.  At this time of year, we are mainly trying to keep all those flowers coming for as long as possible.  This means deadheading, both of roses and herbaceous perennials.

If you prefer, you could go litter picking, or weeding of shrub and rose beds.  We are a very friendly group, always pleased to welcome new volunteers. if you are unsure how to deadhead roses, there are plenty of us ready to give advice. 

After such a long time isolated because of Covid and the pandemic, this is the first time we have really been able to advertise our activities.  Gardening has been proven to have both physical and mental health benefits, especially when you can work as part of a volunteer group. Do as much or as little as you feel able. Every little bit counts!

We will be serving refreshments to anybody who comes to help.  If you missed our plant sale, we still have some plants which you will have an opportunity to purchase. They are a real bargain and all proceeds go towards increasing the range of plants we grow and replacing roses.

The first Saturday in each month is our regular gathering, weather permitting.  Even if it rains, you can still meet for a hot drink and a chat.  We look forward to getting to know new volunteers from our local community.  

How to correctly deadhead a rose bush.