The Royal Parks team in Richmond Park produces a monthly diary (January 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 [email protected]
The Park in January
Rainy weather The 2012 winter is being reported at one of the wettest on record and people who know the Park well cannot record seeing as much standing water as they have this year. The wet and muddy conditions are not necessarily a problem to the Park's wildlife and some animals, such as woodcock find the wet conditions easier to feed in. Two trees have fallen over in December and one of them was a 5-700 year old veteran oak tree. It’s possible that the wet soil contributed to the roots failing.
Horse carriage This winter the contractors that offer the Shire horse services to the Royal Parks and Historic Royal Palaces have been working a team of white draught horses with a passenger carriage. Known as a Landau after the German town where the carriages where first produced, these historic vehicles were first known to the British in the 1740’s. The Royal Mews have several Landaus and they are used for ceremonial occasions. Later in the summer the service is intended to be offered to the general public including wedding guests at Pembroke Lodge.
Jackdaws are one of the most numerous birds in Richmond Park and are easy to see in the leafless tree canopies, gathered in flocks or rather a ‘clattering of jackdaws’ to use the correct collective noun. They are member of the crow family and have distinctive black feathers with a paler sheen to the back of the head. They are gregarious and make a noisy craaagh like noise, especially when alarmed. Their presence adds to the melancholy mood of a woodland walk on a late afternoon in winter.
See the Park on television Images and features concerning Richmond Park are often seen on television radio, newspapers and magazines. There are three planned features for 2013 already. BBC’s Countryfile are planning to feature the Park in mid-January / early February and Antiques Roadshow is expected to be recorded at the Royal Ballet School on 5th September.
Deer feeding The Park’s acreage can sustain a breeding population of about 630 deer, of which about 330 are Fallow and 300 are Red deer. Many years ago the herd was allowed to get much larger and consequently suffered ill health. Now the herd has sufficient food and enjoys good health. Nonetheless, winter is a lean month and the Park staff feed the deer nightly. They receive a supplement of hay (cut in the Park last summer), maize and deer pellets – which contain essential vitamins and minerals. Unlike a deer farm, the food does not support the herd or increase meat production; it simply ensures good health and vitality. It also trains the deer to go to the nightly feeding stands so that, if we do receive heavy snow, the feed can be increased accordingly.
The Isabella Plantation in January
Trees and shrubs with coloured and textured bark
The pollarded willows on the banks of Peg's Pond, are forms of Salix alba, with amber and red stems. Yellow-stemmed dogwood, Cornus stolonifera 'Flaviramea', grows nearby under the weeping willow, and in the Bog Garden.
Red-stemmed dogwood, Cornus alba, is set back behind the heathers, Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ has orange and red stems which show throughout the winter months and can also be found in the Bog Garden.
The “River Birch”, Betula nigra, has papery shredding buff coloured bark. Two of these trees grow on the north side of the Main Stream; one above the Heather Garden and the other towards the top.
Three “Himalayan Birches”, B. jacquemontii, with striking white stems, stand on the lawn above Thomson's Pond.
The “Tibetan Cherry”, Prunus serrula, has gleaming mahogany-red bark beginning to peel into curly shreds. One is set back on the lawn to the north east of Thomson's Pond. Three other good specimens may also be found in Wilson’s Glade.
Acer hersii, at the north end of the Acer Glade path, is one of several 'snake bark' Acers in the garden.
Erica x darleyensis comes into flower in its pink and white forms. Tawny seed heads of Erica vagans remain decorative all winter.
The tall “Portugal Heath”, Erica lusitanica, bears slightly fragrant tubular white flowers opening from pink buds throughout winter.
Clumps may be found towards the top of the Heather Garden, near the junction of Thomson's Stream and the Main Stream.
The “Sacred Bamboo’, Nandina domestica, planted behind the heather in several places, is truly a plant for all seasons. Decorative evergreen leaves are tinged purple in spring and autumn, panicles of white flowers open in the summer to provide orange red berries throughout winter.
Hamamelis mollis, the “Witch Hazel”, has fragrant yellow tassel flowers. Two large shrubs stand by the gate to Broomfield Hill. Another hybrid variety, called ‘Jelena’, has ginger coloured flowers and grows in the woodland ride to the west of the garden.
Prunus subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’ grows close to the Top gate and also set back in the glade behind Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Jelena’. It produces semi-double, white flowers intermittently throughout the winter months.
Lonicera X purpusii ‘Winter Beauty’, is a shrubby honeysuckle which bears tiny white fragrant flowers throughout winter. A group of these shrubs grows by the Acer Glade path.
Rhododendron dauricum 'Midwinter', also beside the Acer Glade path, has small rose-purple flowers.
Isabella Garden Walks 2013
You are invited to join the gardeners for guided walks throughout the year. Walks will take place on:
January Friday 4th & 25th, Sunday 20th
February Friday 1st & 22nd, Sunday 10th
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