Among The Friends of Prince of Wales Park volunteers are those of us who are able to help and advise on matters horticultural, with knowledge covering
plant identiﬁcation, design and landscaping, pruning techniques, propagation methods, composting, soil improvement and general maintenance methods
One of the very ﬁrst major horticultural (landscaping) projects undertaken, was the rescue of the hawthorn hedging which had grown up to 15 feet and more in the quarry area. We used a dead-hedging method. Three years on, we now have a successful hedge, happy and healthy and grown full to the
The ‘hurdle’ in the Lady Lane area near the ‘Trim Trail’/play equipment was another large project. The structure is multi-functional... a way to ‘tidy’ huge
amounts of coppiced branches and other clearance material; as a demarcation barrier; and importantly, as a nesting area/refuge habitat for all sorts of
insects, small creatures and some birds.
At a similar time we suggested that many of the larger branches and trunks could be used for effective path edging material, particularly the silver birch.
We have used these edging methods in the quarry, along the ‘Azalea Walk’, and now along the Broadwalk where we are planting up a perennial
geranium/cranesbil border, punctuated with aquilegia.
Bradford‘ Council designated one of their Technical ofﬁcers to design the planting schemes for the ‘formal’ beds (all the Lodge beds and borders, both sides of the Azalea Walk and the Eldwick entrance bed.) They also fully financed the scheme. Preparation of the beds was a massive task. Some existing shrubs and plants needed to be removed and replanted elsewhere in the park where possible, the backdrop hedging needed ‘taming’ and the soil needed improving.
The planting schemes have several elements; height and structure for interest provided by shrubs, tall grasses, cardoons, angelica etc; an edible element which runs throughout all the ‘formal’ beds and reflects the current upsurge in interest for community orchards, shared vegetable plots etc. such as pioneered by nearby Todmorden and later taken up nationwide by villages, towns and even whole cities, Bristol in particular. As an acknowledgement of the history of the park the muted colour palette in the beds next to the Lodge was specifically chosen to represent the sepia tones of old photographs.
The Azalea bed is a little different...the existing azaleas provide such a wonderful riot of colour in the spring that this bed has been planted up with
bulbs and brightly-coloured perennials (still establishing) to complement the display of the azaleas and prolong the ﬂowering season in this bed right through to the autumn. We are still ﬁlling any gaps with appropriate perennials,
Thanks to the prolonged period of rain this time last year, the ’edible’ hedging (also funded by Bradford Council) opposite the azaleas, is now establishing well after a slow start. The most recent ‘formal’ bed to be planted up is at the top of the cascade. We have yet to gauge fully how many of the plants have survived. There was a very dry spell soon after planting. Although all the plants were speciﬁcally chosen for their shade tolerance as well as colour, many have been lost. In the spring we can do a full assessment.
We have planted hundreds of bulbs in the park in these last three years, mainly daffodils and narcissi. The most successful have certainly been the small
tete a téte variety and particularly on the Broadwalk where they make a welcome early show of spring colour.
On the wild side
We are particularly interested in wild ﬂowers as well as the more formal plants and we have been adding to the long list of wild ﬂowers already recorded in the park. The first we planted were the native primroses down at the bottom of the concrete path. They are wonderful in the spring and now very well
established. They will be ready to split next year. We've planted teasels, evening primrose, and hoary mullein in the area behind the hurdle/ Lady Lane area; sweet woodruff, Iungwort and variegated archangel near the edible hedge/Azalea Walk to name just a few of very many.
We often work together with the wildlife team on joint projects. At the moment, we are helping to establish a wild ﬂower ‘meadow’ patch and a ‘bog’ garden area on the banking behind the gas installation/Lady Lane. The outside Park Road/ border has now been sown with appropriate wild flower seeds all the way up to the to the ﬁrst park entrance.. These are perennial wild flowers which will not fully establish and ﬂower until 2018. We hope they will eventually be as splendid as the bottom section which matured this year.
Disappointments and setbacks
We try not to be too despondent when thieves take plants and things go wrong but it is difﬁcult not to be saddened as horticulturists when plants fail
for whatever reason. There have been several unexpected substitutions of speciﬁc plants in orders from nurseries which are inevitably unsuitable and subsequently fail; and then, sadly, we have lost many plants through vandalism, thefts and general inadvertent canine and human trampling. We've lost others to too much rain or not enough rain, some have been mistakenly mown and others munched by deer!
Friends of Prince of Wales Park horticulture sub-committee