The Royal Parks team in Richmond Park produces a monthly diary (April issue below) which is displayed on the Park's public noticeboards.
If you are a member of the Friends and would like to receive these monthly diaries by email, please send your name and email address to Roy Berriman at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Park in April
Frogs, toads and newts These amphibians migrate on wet spring nights to mate in the Park’s 20, or so, ponds. Frog spawn is formed of the familiar clumps of clear ‘jelly-like’ balls, protecting the developing tadpole. Toad spawn takes the form of long continuous strands of ‘jelly’ dotted with the black eggs every centimetre or so.
Newt spawn is the most difficult to see. All three newt species lay single eggs, tucked under the leaves of submerged aquatic plants.
Please do not remove any tadpoles or spawn. Do not add any tadpoles or spawn to the ponds either, as this may introduce disease. People cycling through the Park at night may need to look carefully and avoid what may innocently look like leaves or sticks!
Commercial dog walking licence As from the 2nd April commercial dog walkers will be required to hold a licence to conduct their business in any of the Royal Parks.
Applications can be made online and licence holders will be supplied with an arm band to show that they are licensed and comply with the Royal Parks' terms. The Parks Police will monitor behaviour, ask dog walkers to apply for a licence and in time enforce the licence if necessary.
A new pedestrian bridge will be installed across the Beverley Brook near Robin Hood car park. Works will commence on 2nd April with the car park closed so that it can be used as a base for the contractors.
When opened, the bridge will lead to a new path creating a link to Chohole Gate at the very eastern point of the golf course. The path will be an extension of the Tamsin Trail allowing cycling at 10mph and walkers but all dogs will need to be kept on a lead to prevent them straying onto the golf course.
Road repairs The wet and cold weather reveals weaknesses in the Park's road surfaces and creates pot holes. Contractors are working in April to repair the worst of the potholes in a variety of places.
Pedestrian crossing points Three new raised crossing points are due to be installed in April to assist motorists and pedestrians alike. Two will be constructed at Pembroke Lodge car park at the northern and southern points and one will be placed at Robin Hood car park.
The new gold course golf club house is due to open for business by the end of April (although the ‘official’ opening will be later in the summer). This will provide much better facilities for the golfers and by creating parking facilities for them by the new club house will release more car spaces for other Park users near Roehampton Gate.
The Isabella Plantation in April
The streams are bright with Marsh Marigolds, Caltha palustris. The yellow hooded spathes of the American Skunk Cabbage, Lysichiton americanus, which precede large rank leathery leaves, are conspicuous along the stream from the Still Pond.
Camellias are still flowering throughout the Garden. They are mainly older Camellia japonica cultivars and a number of Williamsii hybrids.
Rhododendrons Along the Bluebell Walk, opposite the Acer Glade, look out for the bright purple flowers of the deciduous R. reticulatum. This month the Japanese azaleas start into flower. They are usually at their best during the last week of April and the first week of May. R.racemosum grows down the path from the Still Pond; it is a medium sized shrub that bears pale to bright pink flowers.
Rhododendron ‘Quaker Girl’ grows in the glade set back from the path at the top of Thomson’s Stream and bears trusses of stunning white flowers with a deep crimson throat. Look out for Rhododendron ‘Bibiani’ growing in a number of areas in the garden; this shrub produces compact trusses of rich crimson funnel shaped flowers with maroon spots.
Early evergreen azaleas are beginning to flower throughout the garden; look out for ‘Kirin’, a pale pink “hose in hose” (flower within an flower), and ‘Sylvester’ which has small deep pink flowers. In a glade set back from the Main Stream and other locations around the Garden are the blue-flowering Rhododendrons from the Triflorum series. These are Rhododendron augustinii and the R. chasmanthum hybrid Rhododendron ‘Electra’.
Magnolias Throughout the gardens pink and white forms of Magnolia soulangiana come into flower. Along the Bluebell Walk are two small pink hybrids of M. stellata, called M. X loebneri 'Leonard Messel'. A larger one is set back by the Scots Pine to the far side of the Acer Glade. Magnolia ‘Heaven Scent’, one of the Gresham Hybrids, grows in a ride off the Main Stream and has goblet shaped flowers, pink on the outside and white inside. Its flowers have a strong lavender scent.
Daffodils In the Wet Lawn area near the top gate, the golden yellow flowers of Narcissus bulbocodium subsp. bulbocodium with conical cups and pointed petals have now appeared and succeed the delicate flowers of Narcissus cyclamineus, which are also naturalised in this area.
The bog garden Look out for the clusters of white or pale pink flowers borne on white–haired stems which are those of the “Umbrella Plant”, Darmera peltata, which flowers before it produces foliage.
Wheelchair available A motorised wheelchair, which makes the job of pushing considerably easier, may be loaned for use within the Garden on weekdays between 09.00 and 15.00. Please ring 020 8948 3209 to book the chair by noon on the day before it is required.
Isabella Plantation Garden Walks 2013
You are invited to join the gardeners for guided walks throughout the year. Walks will take place on:
April Friday 5th and 26th, Sunday 14th
May Friday 3rd and 31st, Sunday 12th
Walks last about one-and-a-half hours and are free of charge. Meet inside the Garden by the gate from Broomfield Hill car park at 11am.
©The Royal Parks