Sunday, 5 October 2014

Fletcher Moss Gardens

A Word About Parks
Fletcher Moss at its best
      Fletcher Moss Gardens is a Manchester city park situated in the leafy suburb of Didsbury. It once purported to be 'botanic', displaying an impressive labelled collection of trees, shrubs and alpine plants and exchanging seeds with similar gardens throughout the world . However it has suffered the cuts (sorry - 'savings') commonly experienced by parks and is now a shadow of its former self: the seed exchange system is long gone; vandals have consistently ridden mountain bikes down the unique rockery, destroying bulbs and the artificial stream beds in the process; weeds have begun a reversion to wilderness, and untended trees and shrubs have added to this endeavour.
Worth saving?
      On the face of it, everything isn't quite as bad as I've painted, because a grant has been obtained in an attempt to reestablish former glory: low railings are being installed to impede the mountain bikes; the stream beds restructured; paths widened and relaid to enable better wheelchair access and  plants ordered to replace those which have fallen foul of the joint onslaught by vandals and neglect.    

      Unfortunately, although all this is very desirable, it overlooks the point that, where at one time a team of eight gardeners ensured standards were kept up, this task is currently undertaken by the selfless dedication of one warden (Colin, with responsibility for a range of parks) and a band of heroic volunteers working one day a week. The addition of visits once every six weeks by contractors only marginally improves this state of affairs. With this in mind, Fletcher Moss could look like Kew gardens for a fortnight after the current work and be back to rain forest in a very short time unless ongoing funding for gardeners should emerge (what chance when politicians cheerfully flourish the promise of tax cuts: "how will you pay for them?"  "oh, you know,er, - savings"). 
'The Croft' in Fletcher Moss - birthplace of the R.S.P.B.
      The Friends of Fletcher Moss is an active group with an important input towards preserving a place of beauty. They are always happy to welcome new members. To find out more about them tap on Although this is specific to a small area, there are Friends groups around the country and if you have an interest in preserving a local park or garden they will usually be found on the Internet.