Renewing the Park for the Future

Friends of Pinner Village Gardens

Winter 2021 Newsletter

by Antonia Savvides

Nature, and our park, hibernate during the winter period and we all look forward to Spring, when flowers bloom and we all hope that we can be free of Covid. However, even during this quiet time, several important changes have been made in the park. Thanks to Harrow Council, the majority of paths were refurbished at the end of 2020, and they have promised that remaining areas will be completed in the future. 

Having mentioned it in previous newsletters, we have also taken delivery of new native trees for the park, and the main theme of this edition is to give thanks to all the people who sponsored, and the volunteers who planted those trees. 

We are keenly aware of the importance of the park for the local community, once again during this new lockdown, and would like to thank all our supporters and volunteers for facilitating improvements to PVG, that create the pleasant environment that is so important for all.

The Trees of Pinner Village Gardens

by Simon Braidman

Trees are so important, capturing carbon dioxide, giving shade, and providing shelter and food for the myriad plants and animals that depend on them. Their life span can reach from between 70 – 4800 years old and hence make the best memorials -a living memory and celebration.

When Pinner Village Gardens became part of Metroland in the 1920’s, the park designers looked at the existing fields and tree lines and incorporated them into the final design. This is typified by the line of English Oaks (Quercus robor) in the centre of the park, running from East to West.

The designers did much more than that – they planted specimen trees and bushes from around the world and the people who did this were experts. So you can find Sugar Maple Trees from the United States, Eucalyptus trees from Australia, a Strawberry Tree from Western Europe and the Mediterranean amongst many others.

Thanks to climate change, now our climate is changing more quickly, with hotter drier summers and wetter, milder winters. It is the prolonged dry, hot spells which put strain on the trees. Despite our watering efforts and the fungal networks that exchange food and water with the roots of trees, PVG trees have suffered, and a number have died, shed limbs or fallen over. This is why we must invest in yees for the future and have embarked on the sponsorship tree programme.

The Passing of a Founding Member

by Brian Chapman

I am sad to report the passing of one of the founder members of the Friends of Pinner Village Gardens, John Everest. John became involved with the Friends in the very early days, and sat on the Committee. His legacy will be the creation of the map of Pinner Village Gardens (described as “JE’s Map” in the member’s joining packs), and naming several areas of the park. 

He has been described in very fond terms by all those I have spoken to, and he will be sorely missed by all those who knew him. We are looking at a way to celebrate his legacy within the park, and would welcome any suggestions.

Woodland Trust Tree Charter Festival

Recently, filming took place in Pinner Village Gardens, to create a short info video, as part of the Woodland Trust Tree Chater Festival 27/28 November 2020. It includes some stunning aerial footage which was shot by drone as well as information about our important trees in the area. The footage of PVG can be seen from 1:12 onwards in the video by following this link:

Planting Trees for 2020

by Simon Braidman

To ensure Pinner Village Gardens has trees for the future, we must invest in replacement . The park is not a woodland where seeds and nuts naturally fall and grow into new trees. The semi-formal nature of a suburban park means trees are sited with care to take into account many aspects of the park such as views, usage, management and play.

The Council no longer has the capacity to do large-scale tree planting or maintenance due to staff and budget cuts and it is up to the local community to ensure our surroundings and park continue to be green, pleasant and full of life.

This latest round of tree planting was made possible by local sponsorship and donations. These people and organisations have kindly paid for all the 15 very large trees, which are all UK native species. These include English Oak, Beech (Fagus sylvaticus) Black Poplar (Populus niger), Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris), Wild Cherry (Prunus avium), Crab Apple (Malus sylvestris) and Spindle (Euronymus europaeus). 

Also, we still have 9 dwarf apple trees (both heritage and modern varieties) to arrive and 8 sponsored Himalyan Silver Birch (Snow Queen) have been planted at Compton Rise . In addition, several Alder Buckthorn (Frangula alnus) whips, the food plant of the caterpillar of the Brimstone Butterfly (Gonepteryx rhamni) will be added.

Interfaith Tree Planting

by Jonathan Freedman

Interfaith Week was marked in Pinner on Tuesday 17 November 2020 by a special tree planting ceremony in our park. The restrictions imposed by Covid-19 meant that there were just two representatives of the Faiths Forum for London present, one at each tree; Leonie Lewis, a local resident, who is a Vice Chair and Ali Madani, Project Manager & Regional Co-ordinator. Volunteers from the Friends of PVG dug the tree holes and planted the two beautiful cherry trees. They are the ones in tree cages either side of the path near the adult gym if you want to pay them a visit! We hope to hold a dedication ceremony once we can gather more freely.

Video messages were sent by Julie Waller, Chair of the Pinner Association, Ervad Yazad T Bhadha of the Zoroastrian Centre, and Rebbetzen Abi Kurzer of Pinner Synagogue. There is a short YouTube video of the messages and planting at https://youtube/lA–LuZrLZQ

As Leonie said: “Although socially distanced, we want to showcase our diversity as faith communities and our grateful thanks for living in a wonderful and green community. Pinner Village Gardens is a very special green park space, looked after by a great team of volunteers, so what better way than planting trees for us literally, to grow together!”

Exceptional Work by Volunteers

by Simon Braidman

Planting has been a huge effort. Many of the trees were large, with large root balls, which needed sizable holes. Much of this was done by hand, so a huge thanks goes to Roshan Tailor, the planting would not have happened without him. Jonathan Freedman has been a stalwart at PVG for a long time, and is working on multiple projects, yet found time to help with planting and clear-up. Manjeet Panasar and Sardool Singh Bharaj from Harrow Sikh’s were amazing. These two gentlemen have been so helpful, cheerful and funny, and saved my bacon on more than one occasion. Thanks also to Neville Day of the Stanmore Common Volunteers for his help with the digging. Emmanuelle Braidman, the brains of the Braidman outfit, also dug holes during her time off work.

Manjeet and Sardool planted their two Oaks with a team from the Potohar Association who represent Sikhs from the Potohar region of the Western Punjab, now part of Pakistan. Thanks goes to Chanchal Singh Chowdhry, Pushpinder Kaur Chowdhry, Bupinder Singh Bhasin and Satpal Singh Panesar of the Potohar Association for their help.

The lifeblood of Pinner Village Gardens are the volunteers who work so hard, and on this project included Sue Jull, Brett Logan, Simon Trott, Chris Timmis and Antonia Savvides. These people have all helped with tree planting as well as working on other brilliant projects in the park. We have also had young volunteers; Anton was amazing and helped dig the Apple tree holes and plant the Inga and Hanniford Cherry trees. Tanav with his mum Deepa helped with the clear-up, building banks for nesting solitary bees and sowing Ragged Robin (Lychnis flos-cucili) and Yellow Rattle (Rhinanthus minor) seeds in the new Bug Zone area. 

Harrow Council sent Colin the tractor driver and he helped transport the trees to their holes, tow a forklift out of the mud, transport soil improver bags all over the park and was crucial in relocating a flooded Oak tree. Thanks to Colin and Mark Richardson for the assistance. Joseph, one of the digger drivers for GFL who did the paths, helped with one of the tree holes. 

Some trees will have memorial plaques and these will be installed soon.

Water Reclamation Project

As part of the work undertaken in PVG, we strive to ensure that we do so with as little impact on our environmental resources as we can. We do not use pesticides or any dangerous chemicals, we avoid using peat in our planting, and we have created a compost site in the park.

Now we will need to maintain our new trees, keep their bases weed free for the first few years and above all make sure they get enough water. As you will recall from previous summers, we have lost trees due to prolonged heat and lack of water. We are aiming to mitigate this and you will have seen our volunteers with the water bowser going around the park last summer. In addition, we have recently utilised a park friend’s shed and are collecting excess rainwater run off into a new water point of reclaimed water butts.

Tree Trail

We plan to create a new tree trail in PVG. We intend to design a free and downloadable walking map of the park which will highlight distinctive trees and tree related features and give information plus install fairy doors on a handful of trees to create a fun children’s version. The trees have already been identified, and the text is being reviewed by a tree expert and designer. We will let you know when the trail and map are ready.

Harrow Go Green 2021

Harrow Council have launched a competition which aims to inform children, residents and local businesses on the importance of biodiversity in the borough. There are several categories in which entries can be submitted, and support is given to those looking to create a project for the local community or even just their own garden. More information can be found at, and entries can be made until the end of May.

Volunteering During Lockdown

by Jonathan Freedman

Following council advice, Fopvg will not run formal work parties during this current lockdown period. However, once restrictions are lifted, work will continue and we would be delighted if you would participate, either working on your own, or by joining a small handful of others in working parties. For further details on volunteering opportunities, please contact us by email (at the bottom of this newsletter).

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Summer 2020
Autumn 2020
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