As Council budgets become tighter and resources strain to keep up standards, unfortunately maintenance of our public gardens is not of the highest priority. A senior Council official recently stated that if budget cuts continue to be necessary at the present rate, there may be little or nothing left for public parks and gardens by 2017. This is a seriously worrying forecast, particularly for us here. As our gardening team, headed by Graham, are given more and more to do – he is currently responsible for Brunswick Square, our two gardens, St Ann’s Well and recently also Hove Cemetery, with often little or no help – standards will inevitably fall, and this summer we have seen evidence of this. During July and August both gardens fell into a state of serious neglect, about which FOPA made a number of complaints and which was eventually put right by a grand clear up at the beginning of September. Even so, the gardens do not compare well with their condition ten years ago, as our photo shows. The maintenance of public urban gardens in times of austerity and changing priorities for Councils is a national concern, and it may be that a new approach to this will emerge. In the meantime, there little FOPA can do to help unless a residents’ assistance team can be set up and formalised, a proposal so far resisted by the Council.