November 2019 newsletter

Devonshire Road & William Hogarth statue planting, 22nd November

In partnership with Stefano Marinaz Landscape Architecture studio and Matrix Surveys we’ll be installing stylish steel tree pits and lovely planting along the High Road end of Devonshire Road, and planting around the William Hogarth statue.

The work has been funded as part of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s High Road grant, with all design and labour offered free by the businesses, both of them local to Chiswick. If other local businesses would like to get involved, for instance by sponsoring more tree planting in the area, then do get in touch.

Greening updates

Last weekend volunteers added a few hundred allium bulbs to the Turnham Green Terrace flower bed, and also dug out and planted up the bed behind the bike racks, which usually serves as a windblown refuse trap. Let’s see if the super tough flowers there will survive…

Over by Gunnersbury station the new planters are looking good, and the West Chiswick & Gunnersbury Society added a few hundred bulbs, to the planters and random bits of soil around that part of Chiswick as part of their Green Up Gunnersbury campaign.

The Sleeping Beauty Hedge, between Chiswick School and House, gobbled up nearly 1,000 daffodil bulbs and a load of forget-me-not plants along the new(ish) hedging, so hopefully that area will be more enticing in spring for people and insects (and less for flytippers and littering).

We continue to work with the council on their climate emergency plans, and have helped to choose 20 wildflower verges around Hounslow which will serve as pilot areas to trial a more bio-diverse way of maintaining grass. We continue to meet with them (and push for improvements) about trees, tree pits, glyphosate, active travel and other climate- and biodiversity-related issues.

W4th Plinth, 25th November

The closing date for W4th Plinth entries for the next round of artwork is 25th November. We have some lovely submissions for our big 4 square metre art slot on the railway embankment wall above the piazza on Turnham Green Terrace, but more are always welcome. The Peter Blake Chiswick Empire collage will remain up until the new artwork is chosen in the New Year, after a vote for which submission we all want to see for the next 6 months.

Tree Planting Saturday 30th November, 10am – 2pm

The Friends of Harvard Hill will be planting a hedgerow almost 200m long, with over 800 native hedge plants, and a row of living willow arches in the west end of the park at the Harvard Hill Recreation Ground in Grove Park, Chiswick.

The tree planting day has been chosen to coincide with the Woodland Trust’s Plant a Million Trees campaign, #everytreecounts, which is urging 1 million people to plant a tree to help fight the climate emergency.

The Friends of Harvard Hill are inviting everyone to help improve the environment in the park and would like to see as many community members as possible coming along to plant a tree too. “We need as many helping hands as possible” say the organisers. “We hope the park will become a green oasis linking up the Gunnersbury Nature Triangle and providing habitat for animals like hedgehogs and stag beetles.”

The planting is funded by a grant from the Mayor of London’s Our Space scheme, with support from the London Borough of Hounslow, Abundance and London National Park City. For further information email

Financing the Piazza (and other projects) – a bit of transparency

Abundance is not a registered charity, but is a not-for-profit organisation with charitable aims. See our Constitution here. All our volunteers work for free. They are repaid in satisfaction and smugness, virtue-signalling points, healthy fresh air, muddy fingernails and sometimes a good soaking from the rain, and a sore back. They may occasionally get a leftover bulb, but that is a rare occurrence. If you would like to volunteer, there’s a form here, or just come along to one of the call outs.

As an example of our expenditure, and in the interests of complete transparency, here’s the way the piazza funding worked:

Matrix Surveys did all the preliminary surveys, as well as all the measuring up for the bench installation, completely free. Earl Kendrick Associates lent us an architect and, although we didn’t eventually use her drawings, it was useful to focus our aims. Nigel Woolner drew up the artistic sketches that we used to persuade people of our intentions. I (Karen Liebreich) project managed the whole thing. Our treasurer (Karen Wyatt) keeps a beady eye on the finances, Sarah Cruz (co-founder) helped with design input. Cathy Meisels, chair of Friends of Chiswick Back Common originated the idea of improving the area and provided design input. Jutta Wagner ( garden designer) initially designed the perennial flower bed, and received £300 payment mostly to cover her expenses as she no longer lives in Chiswick. However, she is not paid for planting, weeding or any ongoing design work. Volunteers did all the planting, ongoing maintenance and watering. Tyson Mercan from Pizza Treat supplies all the water free (and sometimes encouraging pizzas) and Les from Autocheck also supplies water. Chiswick House Kitchen Garden helped us plant up all the bulbs and housed them over the winter.

All these people (apart from the small honorarium for Jutta’s initial design) worked for free, in many cases for many many hours of input.

The two bespoke curving benches plus two straight benches along the road (behind the bus stop) cost an eye-watering £30,087.35, which included delivery and installation. Hounslow parks department (Lampton 360 Greenspace) removed the old benches and gave us a tonne bag of compost. The benches were by far the biggest ticket item, but the theory is that they require almost no maintenance, they look lovely, and they last for donkey’s years. Feedback has been good so far.

The flowers and bulbs cost £2,600, which included £50 for parking and volunteer cups of tea while planting deep into the night that first day!

The bike racks were £55 each, and London Borough of Hounslow didn’t charge us for the installation or the removal of the old ones.

We spent £1,077.50 closing the street for the party on 15th September. (However we covered that back by happy people donating us money for free apple juice, free bird feeders etc).

The 4th plinth costs are additional to that, but not too high, as once again local businesses, including Rory Ferguson, a very agile local rigger, and Fast Signs, a printer in Stirling Road, are amazingly supportive.

In terms of funding received, Friends of Chiswick Back Common contributed £25,000 from their London Borough of Hounslow S106/CIL funding (which is mitigation funding from local building developments). Sir Peter Blake gave us some additional artists’ prints of the Chiswick Empire Theatre collage, which we brought in an additional £3,240. So in addition to the council’s £25k, overall Abundance added some £8,000, almost all of which had been given by individual donors over the previous year in association with the Chiswick Timeline mural, occasionally in lovely lumps of £200 or so, but usually in delicious dollops of £25.

And if you have read this far and are feeling inspired to donate for future projects you can do so here.

If anyone has any queries about this, I’m sure our Treasurer Karen Wyatt, a chartered accountant, will be happy to show you a more traditional spreadsheet.

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