The Royal Parks' team in Richmond Park produces a monthly diary (July 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
July in the Park
Olympic cycling test event – road closures The Park's roads will be closed to cars and cyclists on Sunday August 14th and there may be partial closures and detours during Saturday 13th. Roads outside the park will also be affected. Dogs will be required to be on leads on this day and regular dog walkers may wish to consider alternative sites for the day.
Sand martin nest bank The Royal Parks have submitted a planning application to build sand martin bank at Pen Ponds as part of the SITA Trust funded grant with the Thames Landscape Strategy, Father Thames Trust and the Friends of Richmond Park.
It is hoped that works will start in the autumn of 2011 to build the bank in time for spring 2012. Sand martins are a part of the London Species Action Plan and the Royal Parks aim to help this threatened bird by providing suitable nesting sites at Pen Ponds. To find out more please visit the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames Planning web page www.richmond.gov.uk and search for application PP-01444738.
Ragwort The management of ragwort divides opinion. Whilst there are three types of Ragwort that are almost indistinguishable from each other, only Common Ragwort is carcinogenic to livestock if consumed in large quantities. Horse owners therefore need to eradicate Common ragwort from grazing land which is a herculean task if one or 2 plants are left to spread.
However, in Richmond Park ragwort offers a valuable nectar source where few other large flowers survive the browsing of the deer. The Royal Parks tries to strike a difficult balance by only removing some plants from key locations such as bridleways. Ragwort is valued in the Park but excessive large, dense stands are removed after they have flowered but before they have set seed.
Government funding cuts A year ago public sector funding cuts were announced and The Royal Parks, along with almost all other government departments, were required to find a 25% budget saving within 5 years (36 % in real terms). In order to meet this, a range of measures are being introduced including a reduction of staff directly employed by the Royal Parks.
Later this year the management teams for Richmond Park and Bushy Park will merge with one overall Park Manager and fewer support staff.
Oak processionary moth The toxic hairs on the caterpillars from this invasive, non-native moth may cause skin irritations and breathing problems in some people.
Monitoring and control measures are now in their third year in the Park with June and July being the busiest months for removal. You may see specialist operatives in protective clothing completing this task in sections of the Park. Removals started in the gardens of Pembroke Lodge where areas have been temporarily closed off as a precautionary measure after episodes of heavy rainfall in June washed some caterpillars out of the trees.
If you find caterpillars or their webbed nests please do not touch them and report any sightings to the park office on 0300 061 2200.
The Isabella Plantation in July
Flowering trees and shrubs
Large, late flowering rhododendrons may be found in the south section of the garden, between the stream from the Still Pond and the main central stream. They have pink and white fragrant flowers and include many hybrids of Rhododendron auriculatum. Many rhododendrons are now producing handsome new leaves. These are often covered with a soft felt layer, which is white or ginger, and known as ‘indumentum’.
In the secluded lawn to the south of Thomson’s Pond the first giant flowers of the Magnolia grandiflora are set amongst glossy evergreen leaves. They have thick fleshy cream petals and a delicious citrus scent.
Clethra barbinervis with its long racemes of white fragrant flowers can be found on the path leading from the Top Gate leading down towards Bluebell Walk, near the entrance to Wilson’s Glade.
Heather garden Look out for the “Button Bush”, Cephalanthus occidentalis, set back from the path leading to the Bog Garden. This shrub bears creamy-white flowers in small globular heads, which are very attractive to butterflies.
Bog garden In the Bog Garden the tall yellow spires of Ligularia przewalskii are set against a backdrop of bamboo, and the Gunnera manicata spreads its giant prickly leaves. Here, and by the streams, many varieties of Hemerocallis, the ‘Day Lily,’ flower amongst iris. Bell-shaped, fragrant yellow of the “Giant Cowslip”, Primula florindae show in the marginal bed alongside the decked walkway.
The wild flowers of ‘Purple Loosestrife’ and the frothy white blossoms of ‘Meadowsweet’ grow alongside more exotic plantings. Look out for butterflies visiting the Joe Pye weeds (Eupatorium purpureum) with its stately pinkish purple flowers. Water lilies open on Thomson’s Pond, where dragonflies and damselflies hover and dart over the water on warm still days. Just off the central path look out for the soft pink flowers of the ground cover plant Persicaria affinis ‘Superba’.
The birthday mound Hydrangea quercifolia with its large oak shaped leaves and abundance of frothy white flowers heads can be found putting on an impressive show on the banking surrounding the Red Oak stump.
Foxglove tree glade Hydrangea aspera flowers in the glade set back from the Still Pond; this magnificent large leafed shrub produces large heads of porcelain blue flowers, with a ring of lilac-pink or white ray florets.
Azalea feeding Streamside Azaleas are fed with an organically approved seaweed based feed after flowering to encourage vigour, disease resistance and flower production the following spring.
Lawn creation The gardeners are also busy preparing ground and sowing grass seed to create an area of lawn in an open above the Still Pond. This glade has been created by the removal of Rhododendron ponticum and it is hoped that once established it will be used by visitors, offering relief to Thomson’s Lawn.
Please help to support The Isabella Plantation Access Project by dropping your donations into the box by the gate (Information about the Project and donation boxes at the Broomfield Hill and Bottom Gate entrances to the Plantation).