Good afternoon and welcome to the latest update into the volunteer world of Mr Alex Ashworth.
So I arrived a little earlier than expected at 9.30am at the Pavilion Base HQ. Senior Park Ranger Steve Smith was dealing with some important phone duties so I helped myself to a cup of coffee and ( quite aptly ) a ginger nut, a name I may have been referred too at some point in my life.
As the time marched on to 10am and after several slurps of our coffee and a sugar rush of biscuits we were both ready to get on with the mornings tasks.
The first point of call was to plant a series of crocuses donated by the 'Friends of Ashton Park' group via Bannister Hall nursery. Steve had located an area that was ideal to spruce up the park and make it more inviting for passers by. Once we had dug several holes we planted the crocuses in and tucked them in nice and gently so they were ready for bed.
Task number two was a litter clearance. Steve had recently cleared the park so it didn't need too much work to be done. Due to this Steve decided to have just one little pick and one bin bag, so I followed Steve round the park in an orderly fashion and helped to tidy up certain areas that had been abused, for example it was clear the branches of trees had been attacked by some foolish people so I cleared them away from the path and put them under a tree.
By 11.15am we had concluded the first part of our morning's work and it was time for a reflection and rest with a good cup of coffee and of course one or two biscuits. Steve asked me my plans for the rest of the week and in reply I said I am busy with my voluntary work. Tomorrow sees me continue my duties at Leyland Day Centre, but that's not one for blogging so you'll just have to use your imagination about what I get up to there.
In the last half hour or so of our morning together we continued doing some more planting. We planted some crocosmia in the fruit garden to brighten up the area donated by a member of the "Friends of Haslam Park" group. We also planted some Achellia which was split in order to propagate new plants by division. This too was in the fruit garden. A source of which was originally from the Rangers allotment.
Spring is a perfect time to create new plants by division or "splitting" as it's often called. Words of wisdom from a man who knows his stuff when it's comes to gardening. Steve also revealed to me his place of escapism, his allotments. He's intending on cutting down his work at his allotments by reducing two to one yet still benefitting from the practical yet pleasurable downtime he spends on them.
When the clock struck 11.45am it was just about time to go. Another enjoyable time at Preston Parks. With practical involvement and continuous learning it makes for a very productive morning. It really is a genuine privilege to volunteer my time with Steve on Monday mornings. He is the ideal boss and mentor, never pushy or pressured, just relaxed and laidback. I really appreciate him giving me this opportunity.
Sadly they'll be no Preston Parks next week but we'll resume gardening based activities in a couple of weeks.
This is Alex Ashworth signing off for another eventful morning volunteering for Preston Parks.