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

July in the Park

What a load of rubbish! There are around 150 rubbish and dog waste bins in Richmond Park. The locations are chosen carefully – placed near entrances and around car parks. Where possible bins are also placed in remote areas of the Park but these locations are restricted to reasonably popular walking routes where they cross with vehicular access routes for collections. The 8 full-time staff on the litter team quite literally work from dawn to dusk – and even before dawn in the winter. Clearing litter, sweeping and maintaining the rubbish bins in Richmond Park costs the tax payer £250,000 per year. That is a lot of money that could be better spent improving the Park. Some members of the public kindly pick litter dropped by others, but there are things that you can do to help, especially during the Parks busiest summer months: –

• Please don’t drop litter
• Bag and bin all dog waste (even if the nearest bin is back at the car park)
• Take rubbish home – especially if you have quite a bit from a picnic etc

New tern raft The Park Diary for May reported that Common Terns (a slender coastal bird that migrates from Africa) were seen fishing in Pen Ponds last year. The Friends of Richmond Park sponsored a large purpose built raft designed specifically to encourage terns to nest. Well, the raft proved instantly successful as a pair of terns laid eggs in June. Chicks should hatch in July and should be visible through binoculars or telescopes as the raft is fitted with Perspex side to protect the tern from other birds and to stop the chicks falling off.

Government funding cuts The recent news headlines regarding public sector funding cuts may affect Richmond Park. The Royal Parks, along with almost all other government departments has been asked to find a 25% reduction in spending over the next 4-5 years. It is too early to know how this reduction may affect Richmond Park. The reduction may affect other Royal Parks, major projects or other services – or the shortfall in funding may be found by increasing revenue.

Road works Regular road users will no doubt have noticed the road works that took place in June. Unfortunately resurfacing that took place last year failed and the contractors have been required to re-do the work. The ‘spray-tar and chip’ method did require loose gravel to be left on the road for a few days whist the stone bedded into the tar. Advance notices and warning signs were in place to advise road users of the temporary road surface. Now the loose stone has been swept the road surface is back to normal – but the cracks and imperfections in the road are no longer apparent. It was obviously a frustrating few days, especially for cyclists but we trust that the need for the work and end result is appreciated by most people.

Did you see the Park on BBC's Springwatch? The BBC came to the Park as part of their feature on the London ‘bird race’. Different teams spent the whole day in London looking for as many birds as possible and Richmond Park was featured, offering views of Little Owl, Kingfisher, Hobby and Wheatear.

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.

Camellia pruning The gardeners are also busy pruning Camellia japonica cultivars along Camellia Walk and in other areas of the Plantation. Plants are cut back to a 7 ‘framework to encourage them to shoot basally, produce healthy vigorous new growth and flowers lower down the plant. Pruning will also allow better air circulation and reduce the spread of diseases such as sooty mould that thrive in warm humid conditions. Pruning is carried out just after flowering in order to give the maximum amount of time for plants to recover before the onset of autumn frosts.

Isabella Plantation Garden walks 2010

You are invited to join the gardeners for guided walks throughout the year. Walks will take place on:

July Friday 2nd and 30th, Sunday 18th

August Friday 6th and 27th

A history tour of the Plantation will take place on Friday 20th August and Sunday 15th August.

Walks last about 1.5 hours and are free of charge. Meet inside the Garden by the gate from Broomfield Hill car park at 11am.

The Royal Parks' News and Isabella News are copyright The Royal Parks