Garden News

Chopper rescue on Formosa’s doorstep

High drama in the garden on the evening of July 16th  when a London Air Ambulance touched down on a mission to get urgent medical help to the scene of an emergency in one of the neighbouring streets. The crew were fairly close-lipped about details of the operation but we were told that there were two consultants, an advanced trauma doctor and a paramedic on board.  

It all made for 90 minutes of high excitement for residents, most busily  deploying their mobile phones, before the helicopter took off again about 9.30 pm,  just within the daylight flying hours permitted in the summertime.

The Air Ambulance, which operates as a charity, was set up just over 30 years ago and serves the 10 million people who live, work and travel within the M25. It treats an average of five patients a day for injuries resulting from incidents such as road traffic accidents, stabbings and shootings. The idea is to bring the hospital to the patient when time is critical, performing potentially life-saving procedures such as open heart surgery and blood transfusions by the roadside, as well as administering general anaesthetics as we know was done in this case.


The Formosa Garden Board regularly produces a Newsletter that gives residents an overview of how the Garden is progressing against our plans as well as helpful tips on getting the most out of our Communal Garden.  The latest newsletter is shown below and copies of previous newsletters are available here.

Viv Robins is the Editor of the Newsletters and you can send her any ideas for content via

May 2020 Newsletter

A GARDEN IS A LOVESOME THING, GOD WOT wrote the minor Victorian poet Thomas Edward Brown, and he hadn’t even been banged up indoors for the best part of two months. But those of us who have are likely to be appreciating anew the beauty and tranquillity of our acre and a half of garden, which has given us an opportunity to relax and exercise afforded to relatively few in our densely populated capital. While this crisis is undoubtedly horrible it is nevertheless true that more people are out enjoying the garden than ever before and registering, perhaps for the first time, the huge amount of work that goes into keeping the flower beds so colourful and the lawns so well-maintained. The results are well captured in these pictures taken by a local resident, Hala, on a sunny day back in April.




Of course the work that goes on to maintain the garden in its pristine state can’t always be unobtrusive and we’d like to thank residents for their co-operation and forbearance during the recent pollarding and felling of trees. The felling was a particularly noisy operation and some might query why it needed to be done at a time of lockdown while so many residents were obliged to be at home, but the advice from our arboriculturalists was that those trees that did come down were in a bad and dangerous state.

In particular the interior of some of the major branches of this tree were found to be completely rotten and could have fallen without warning, representing a serious danger to life and limb.  As for the pollarding, that’s part of a long-established annual maintenance cycle which is in place to control the growth of trees to minimise the risk of subsidence, particularly to those properties along Warrington Crescent which in some cases are only about 10 feet away from the tree line. Even so we know there is nothing like the persistent whine of a chainsaw to get on people’s nerves at a time when they are already likely to be frayed, so thank you again for your forbearance in putting up with it. But the good news is the work is now done and we did provide employment for tree surgeons who might otherwise have struggled during lockdown.


A further piece of work which is literally in the pipeline is the installation of 50% of the new irrigation system for the flower beds. And our Garden Guru Sandy David is also investigating the cost of getting the perimeter path re-gravelled after the heavy rains – remember them? – which swept away much of the surface at the beginning of the year. 


Can we thank people for in the main observing the government’s rules on social distancing which have just been loosened by the government – though not a lot! Importantly the two-metre stipulation still remains in place when encountering those from other households. Please also abide by the revised Formosa rules which state that people should run or walk round the garden in a clockwise direction and that joggers and runners should keep their distance from the Warrington Crescent patios by coming off the path at that point and running a little further in on the grass. Please also ensure that for the time being no guests are brought into the garden which should be used solely by residents and their families. 



As you will know the various events planned for the summer have all been cancelled and the only one still in the diary is the Bonfire Night event on November 7th. At the time of writing it’s still hoped this can happen -- and if it does it should be quite a party! The AGM, scheduled for July 1st, is going to have to take place virtually via Zoom and Crispin Sampson-Bancroft of Westbourne Block Management which oversees the gardens will be circulating instructions nearer the time as to how people can get access to this.

Meanwhile these Newsletters are having to go out largely by email but as not everyone is on Westbourne’s data base please share your copy with anyone who might be new to the gardens or with tenants, and perhaps for the future encourage them to register with Crispin via or go directly to the Formosa Garden website at

The sense of community here is a wonderful thing. And perhaps now we can add a new slogan to that of the government: We’re stronger together!  

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