Walking to Wonderland?

As part of the Bloom! the festival, follow our scarecrow trail this weekend, walking through the local neighbourhood.  The theme is children’s stories.  What an array we have with creative scarecrow designs based on Miffy, George’s Marvellous Medicine, The Iron Giant, The Boy In The Dress, The Tiger Who Came To Tea, Aliens Love Underpants and The Magic Faraway Tree – amongst others – it will be great family-friendly fun.  There is a main trail as well as one for ‘little legs’.

Trails are £2, available from Rowntree Park Reading Cafe, Frankie and Johnnies’ and Pextons on Bishopthorpe Road, as well as from our stall in the park (near the cafe) on Saturday and Sunday, from 11 to 4pm.

Completed trail sheets can be returned to the stall in the park and there are prizes on offer for the ‘Best Scarecrow’ and completed sheets draw at random.  In the park we will also have some children’s crafts activities as well as the opportunity to view our plans for the new play park. We’d love to hear your views on the final three designs.

It should be a fantastic weekend!

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Gardening progress, guest post by Rosemary

Rosemary is our wonderful gardening co-ordinator, and this is her report on progress so far, in 2018

The volunteer gardening team have met – weather permitting – on a weekly basis since March.  The plan for Spring was to increase the perennial plants in the borders, adding lupins to copy the original George Russell (a local horticulturist) lupin borders and to plant perennials chosen by Dave Brown (our former park-keeper) as these could cope with the conditions in the borders. The team have been great, working through a sudden snow storm in March whilst restoring the story circle and having to take frequent drink breaks in shade when gardening in May because of the heat.

The raised beds have been built by Tom and Val and put in place with the help of Good Gym and members of the gardening team. These beds are designed for wheelchair gardeners and those with limited movement. The sensory garden beds will have herbs to smell and the other bed easy annuals such as lettuce and radish to taste. Suggestions welcome.

In the picnic garden, the raised beds are designed for children to plant or easy annuals which have interest eg. a smell of chocolate or antirrhinums (snap dragons) which will open by touch. The plan given to CVS for the ‘Growing Green Spaces’ grant is on track. The beech hedge has been restored at the back of the other small garden, and this area will be secure (for toddlers/from geese) when the cost of metal bow-topped railings and gates can be found, thus completing the required symmetry.

In addition to the above, a small memorial bed with red and white pelargonium has been made either side of the (now-listed) Lychgate. It is intended to add a name board of local cocoa workers who served in the First World War, for display by November.

The Cascade area (next to the cafe) has several rather neglected acers (maples) which we have been clearing and we have added a further six smaller specimen trees. The park has received a bequest of a beautiful mature red acer, effectively a bonsai due to its restriction with its pot, which is now at the base of the cascade. We might not be able to replicate the Himalayan Garden near Ripon but certainly intend to improve this area.

The number of volunteers has increased and the support of the council’s environment officers Beki, Kristina and Iain has been marvellous. The future of gardening and maintenance may be uncertain but the team’s enthusiasm for caring for the park has been terrific over the spring period. Many thanks to all of them, from our youngest pre-schoolers to the retirement club!!

Regular sessions on Tuesday mornings (9.30 to about 11.30) and most Saturday mornings. Contact Rosemary on gardening@rowntreepark.org.uk for more information.


Nature Ninjas spring into action!

 

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What an amazing start our ‘Nature Ninjas’ have had!  This new after-school club has been running a  few weeks now and it is proving to be lots of fun!  Our Younger Friends of Rowntree Park have been trying out a variety of nature-based activities including den building, pond dipping, bug hunting and making birds nests.  There is still a lot more to come throughout this half term – we can’t wait!

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The club of 15 children meet weekly on a Thursday after school.  If you are interested in your child coming along to future Nature Ninja sessions that may run next half term, get in touch with the Young Friends via Facebook or via membership@rowntreepark.org.uk to register interest.

All our events are run by volunteers.  If you are interested in helping run and/or organise children’s events, we’d love to hear from you.

The Young Friends also run monthly one-off events, more details can be found on Facebook.

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Loads of music in the park!

 

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The first York Music Centre session went really well on Saturday – we even organised the weather! It was so lovely to hear the kids make a joyous sound, in the open air … There’s more to follow and various other events, music and otherwise, to come. Check out our What’s On page!


We’re in the news!

Our lovely Easter Egg trail was covered in the local paper: many thanks to Christine and the Younger Friends group for all their hard work – and especially to Hilary and family for getting stuck in (and wearing the bunny ears!) : http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/news/16126840.Easter_gets_underway_in_York_park/

 


Artist in Residence 2018

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Cath, Nick and Michele (with Lisa and Rosemary, disguised on the left) discuss ideas and arrangements for Nick’s residency at the park

We’re delighted to announce this year’s Artist in Residence is Nick Booth, a MA student studying Fine Art at York St John University. We met up to discuss his ideas on Saturday, and we were intrigued by his proposals. Partly inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry, Nick wants to explore some of the historical aspects of Rowntree Park, from its foundation in the aftermath of World War I, through the inter-war years and onwards, encompassing some memorable elements such as the swimming pool, the aviaries, skating on the lake and the millennial renovations. Perhaps Friends and other local people have ideas for what “absolutely has to be included” in a portrayal of the park? Nick will be spending some time in the park itself, getting inspiration, and will also be warmly welcomed in the Reading Cafe, where his art will be displayed in an exhibition this summer. We’re looking forward to seeing what he produces.

It’ll be a summer of Art (amongst other things) in the park, as we are also working with Sculpture students from York St John University, who are proposing some temporary installations for the park for the weekend of July 7th/8th (to coincide with the Bloom Festival). A curator from the Yorkshire Sculpture Park is helping with this project.


Application deadline extended

We have extended our deadline for applications for our “Artist in Residence” opportunity; please do pass on this information to anyone who might be interested.

The Friends of Rowntree Park are looking for an artist who is studying in York (at post-16 level), who would like to spend time in Rowntree Park and express their experiences in some form of art, to include material displayed in an exhibition at the Reading Cafe.

Do you know a new or emerging artist who would benefit from this opportunity?

  • Application is by email (info@rowntreepark.org.uk), attaching a written proposal (maximum 1000 characters including spaces) as a pdf. In your email, please state your name, the art course you attend, and the school/college/university you are studying at. If you are under 18, please state your age. Your proposal can also include a single image, also as a pdf.
  • We are looking for applications from students studying in York at AS/A2 level, foundation or degree level.
  • Your proposed artwork(s) should be new and site-specific, relating to the park in some way. Your proposal should make it clear how the work would relate to the park. You will probably wish to visit the park (and the cafe) before applying, if you do not already know the space concerned.
  • We have three local artists lined up to consider the applications, in the context of the park and the cafe.
  • We expect the successful artist to spend further time within the park, in order to engage with the space – and be ‘in residence’, as the title suggests; the amount of time will be agreed with the artist. We will be able to organise an area within the cafe, where you could work in the warm and dry – with coffee supplies nearby!
  • The proposed art works can be of any media, within the practical constraints of the display space; it may be that some pieces would be suitable for outside display. Art works must be suitable for all ages, as the exhibition space is open to all.
  • Application deadline is midday on January 26th: the winning artist will be announced on February 16th 2018.
  • The successful artist will be offered an exhibition in the Reading Café, Rowntree Park, with the local press being invited to attend the opening/private view. Dates of the exhibition to be confirmed, but we anticipate that it will be in summer 2018, and that it will last at least a month.
  • The successful artist will be offered a grant of £250 towards materials and other expenses.

For more information or to apply, please email info@rowntreepark.org.uk