The Royal Parks team in Richmond Park produces a monthly diary (August 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
August in the Park
London Fire Brigade training On Thursday 8th August the London Fire Brigade conducted a training exercise in the park.
Should a fire ever happen in Richmond Park there are many locations that are a long way from any hydrant. In such circumstances the Brigade will place a series of engines along the route and pump water continuously along the line. To do this proficiently the fire fighters need to practise as it’s technically a difficult operation. On the 8th a number of engines pumped water out of Pen Ponds along a series of hoses then placed the water back in Pen Ponds!
Grey squirrels There is an abundance of rodents in the Park this summer. It’s likely that the exceptionally high acorn yield last autumn and mild weather has boosted the population of grey squirrels.
The grey squirrel is an introduced species and although it does have some natural predators, it is pretty good at defending itself and scurrying out of harm’s way into the tree canopy.
In mid-late summer the grey squirrel has the destructive habit of stripping bark off trees, causing young trees to die and older trees to lose branches. This year bark stripping is more evident with Beech, Maples Sweet Chestnut and the occasional Oak being the usual victims.
Green Flag Award Last month Richmond Park was awarded a green Flag for the sixth year running. This award is given in recognition of achieving the national standard for parks and open spaces in England and Wales.
Deer Now that the antlers are fully-grown, the ‘velvet’ covering becomes redundant. It dies and shreds and the deer thrash their antlers against vegetation to rub it off. At this time they may be seen briefly with blood stained tatters of skin dangling across their faces.
Blue-green algae This naturally-occurring algae reaches its peak ‘bloom’ during August in the Pen Ponds. It is recognisable as it looks like small grass cuttings floating in the water and can create a scum of algae blown by the wind to collect along one bank.
Blue-green algae has been known to produce toxins which could cause rashes and illnesses to humans or animals when swallowed. We therefore recommend that people and animals avoid contact with the scum and especially don’t drink lake water where the algae is present
August in the Isabella Plantation
Flowering shrubs worth seeking out include:
Magnolia grandiflora which occupies a secluded glade to the south of Thomson's Pond. It has large white flowers with a delicious fragrance set amongst glossy evergreen leaves. Petals fall to reveal striking seed heads.
Clethra alnifolia The Sweet Pepper Bush, also fragrant, is opposite the tall pine below the gate to Broomfield Hill and also below Thomson’s Pond. Hydrangea quercifolia On the Birthday Mound and elsewhere, this has panicles of white flowers and foliage resembling coarse oak leaves, which takes on rich Autumn colours later in the year.
Hydrangea paniculata 'Tardiva' also bears panicles of white flowers, and is set in woodland near the gate towards Pen Ponds, and elsewhere in the Garden.
Hydrangea aspera subsp. Sargentiana grows in Wilson’s Glade in the north east corner. This upright gaunt shrub bears broad heads of flowers from late summer to mid-autumn, the inner ones are blue or deep purple, the outer ones are large and white.
Sorbaria kirilowii, also found in Wilson’s Glade, produces white flowers in large conical panicles throughout July and August.
Heptacodium miconioides is a vigorous shrub that bears lightly scented clusters of white flowers throughout late summer and early autumn. It can be found growing below Thomson’s Pond and also on the Birthday Mound.
Calycanthus occidentalis grows at the top end of the Old Nursery. This Californian species bears large red-brown flowers throughout the summer.
Summer-flowering shrubs in the Heather Garden include varieties of Erica vagans, the Cornish Heath, such as 'Mrs. Maxwell' – dark pink; 'Rosea' – light pink; and 'Cornish Cream' – cream. Several varieties of Calluna vulgaris have coloured foliage, such as 'Gold Haze' – white flower and gold leaf; and 'Robert Chapman' – purple flower with bronze foliage. Daboecia cantabrica has white or purple waxy bells.
Along the streams many native marginal plants are in flower, such as Purple and Yellow Loosestrife, Meadowsweet, Greater Willowherb and Hemp Agrimony. These wild flowers, along with the heathers, attract many butterflies. Elsewhere, streamside clumps of Hemerocallis, the Day Lily, produce a succession of tall yellow or orange trumpet-shaped flowers throughout July and August; each flower lasting only a day.
Thomson’s Pond and the Bog Garden have fine stands of Pontederia cordata, the Pickerel Weed, with spikes of blue flowers amongst erect spear-shaped leaves. In the Bog Garden look out for the creamy-yellow flowers of Kirengeshoma palmata which show until the autumn.
Isabella Plantation Garden Walks 2013
You are invited to join the gardeners for guided walks throughout the year. Walks will take place on:
August Friday 30th
September Friday 6th and 27th, Sunday 15th
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.