Beverley Brook project site visit. Our next “Course” on Saturday 18 June will be rather different – we have arranged a tour of the current Beverley Brook refurbishment project, which will be lead by Julia Balfour, Head of Ecology for the Royal Parks – meet at Roehampton Gate car park at 10am.
Reflections. The Holly Lodge Centre has its annual Reflections event on Wednesday 29 June at Pembroke Lodge starting at 7 for 7.30pm. Tickets are £45. The event includes the last year of the ever popular Tiffinians School a Capella group. To see the full list of performers and to book tickets click here.
Stag Beetles. We’re into the season (until mid-July) when stag beetles emerge from the soil beneath logs or tree stumps to mate. Richmond Park, Wimbledon Common and Epping Forest are European Special Areas for Conservation for stag beetles. The London Wildlife Trust is asking everyone to report sightings of stag beetles, whether male with the “stag’ horns or the smaller females which are easier to spot on the ground. Their website has lots of information and a link to report a sighting. Go to stag beetle.
New tick and OPM signs. Many of you will have seen the new signs warning of ticks/Lyme Disease and Oak Processionary Moths. Please bring them to the attention of other people. You can see them on our Facebook page at ticks/Lyme Disease and OPM
Female kestrel in flight. In mid-May, John Few caught some amazing shots of a female kestrel in the park. See them here on the Friends’ Facebook
Friends’ Facebook, a popular destination. Our Facebook page is continuing to attract more and more people. This month we expect the number “liking” and “following” the page to pass 2,000. To celebrate, we are offering the 2000th follower a free Friends 2017 calendar, when they’re available in the autumn, plus a photo of the person receiving the gift. (Thank you Anne Dixson for suggesting this). In fact we’re so confident the numbers will continue their rapid rise that we will do the same for the 2,500th person. It’s easy to join us on Facebook. Just click on the “like” button on the Friends’ Facebook
Crow attacks Parakeet. Members of the Friends' Friday bird walk witnessed a lethal attack on a parakeet, by a crow, at the bottom of Lawn Field. Photographer John Few had witnessed a similar incident there the previous week.
See photo here Warning! Please be prepared, as the photo may be upsetting.
EVENTS CALENDAR (Next few months)
2 July – Sheen Gate car park
6 Aug – Kingston Gate car park
3 Sep – Robin Hood Gate car park
Informal birdwatching walks – Fridays – meet at Pen Ponds car park coffee kiosk at 9.30am
ISABELLA PLANTATION IN JUNE
RHODODENDRON. The spectacular flowering of the evergreen azaleas is nearly over and the stage is left to the late rhododendron and deciduous azaleas, many of which are fragrant.
BOG GARDEN. The huge prickly leaves of the Gunnera manicata conceal its stout flowering spikes, and contrast with delicate fern fronds and the ribbed, glaucous leaves of hostas. Here and elsewhere bordering the streams, you will find Primula japonica, a candelabra type, in its red, white and magenta forms; lilac-purple Primula beesiana and fragrant yellow Primula florindae. Several iris species are also in flower, including Iris pseudoacorus, our native yellow flag. The Day Lilly, Hemerocallis hyperion, with its lemon-yellow flowers also grows in the beds beside the stream. The new island bed looks stunning at this time of year with the fern Dryopteris erythrosora showing coppery pink young fronds and the Swamp Honeysuckle, Rhododendron viscosum, bearing its spicily fragrant, white flowers.
THE BIRTHDAY MOUND. Digitalis purpurea ‘Alba’, the “White foxglove” is naturalised throughout this area which was planted in 2003 to celebrate Isabella’s 50th anniversary. This european native produces spikes of white bell-shaped flowers with a maroon spotted throat from a rosette of rich green leaves.
STREAM SIDE. Along the Main Stream look out for Galax urceolata, a clump forming perennial with large, round, leathery, mid-green leaves which turn bronze in autumn. It has dense spikes of small, white flowers.
WILSON’S GLADE. Look out for Neillia thibetica which grows opposite the Beauty Bush, Kolkwitzia amabilis, with its profusion of small foxglove-like pink flowers. This medium sized shrub has slender terminal racemes of pink, tubular flowers. Cornus kousa chinensis also grows in Wilson’s Glade, its numerous flowers which have conspicuous white bracts poised on slender stalks cover its spreading branches in June.
FLOWERING TREES AND SHRUBS WORTH SEEKING OUT INCLUDE:
Liriodendron tulipifera, the “Tulip Tree” stands at the Broomfield Hill Top Gate and other locations within the garden. As well as having odd shaped leaves which turn butter yellow in autumn. It has peculiar yellow-green flowers, with internal orange markings, which appear in June and are tulip-shaped.
Calycanthus floridus, “Carolina Allspice” grows in the “V between the Streams”, this Californian species produces aromatic red-brown flowers throughout the summer months.
Stewartia pseudocamellia, grows by the path above the Heather Garden. This deciduous tree bears five petalled white flowers with orange-yellow centres.
Kalmia latifolia, which can be found where the path to the Still Pond crosses the Main Stream. It is an evergreen shrub, whose intricate pink flowers, when in bud, resemble 'Iced Gem' biscuits.
Styrax japonicus, the “Snowbell Tree”, has a profusion of small white bell-shaped flowers dangling below its slender branches. One of several can be found in the bay to the east of Thompsons Lawn.
Azaleodendron 'Govenianum' has trusses of funnel shaped lilac-purple flowers which are very fragrant. A group grows by the sandy path leading to the west of the Garden from the behind the iron ‘1831’ sign.
WHEELCHAIR AVAILABLE. A motorised wheelchair, which makes the job of pushing considerably easier, may be loaned for use within the Garden on weekdays between 9.00 and 15.00. Please ring 0300 061 2200 to book the chair by noon on the day before it is required.
Isabella Plantation Garden Walks 2016
You are invited to join the gardeners for guided walks throughout the year.
Walks will take place on:
June: Sunday 12th
July: Friday 1st and 29th
Walks last about 1.5 hours and are free of charge.
Meet inside the Garden by the gate from Broomfield Hill car park at 11.00a.m.June
Royal Parks Diary – June
30 DAYS WILD: The Wildlife Trusts have launched an initiative in June to encourage people to enjoy and celebrate wildlife and the countryside. People getting involved try to do something connected with wildlife every day for the month. They don’t have to take up much (or any) time and a growing number of people are getting involved. There are free information packs available and London and Surrey Wildlife Trusts have plenty of information on their websites or see: – http://www.mywildlife.org.uk/30dayswild/
DEER: last month The Royal Parks advised walkers (especially with dogs) that the deer were giving birth in late May and June. It’s a very difficult time of year for the deer and worth remembering that the new born are not able to follow their mothers for one or two weeks. Until then, they lie hidden in deep grass or bracken whilst their mothers graze in the vicinity, returning at intervals to groom and suckle them. At this stage the young are very vulnerable to disturbance and when the mothers can behave very defensively, so please: –
• Do not touch very young deer as it may result in them being abandoned by their mothers and thus failing to survive.
• Stay clear from females – we recommend 50m and if you notice a lone female on ‘high alert’ it would reduce her anxiety if you retrace your route and give her a wide berth.
• Dog walkers are advised to walk away from the Park, or, if you choose to walk in the Park please stay clear of the remote quiet places where the deer are more likely to have young and stay on the busier areas that are generally at the edge of the Park.
THE ROADSIDE VERGES: – are protected from ‘straying’ vehicles by posts known locally as ‘Thompson’s Teeth’ and named after G Thompson who was the Park Superintendent from 1951-1971. The grass is cut on the verge to ensure that the posts can be seen and that litter can be collected daily. The Shire horse team start cutting the verge early in the season and keep the grass low. Then once or twice each year, depending on growth the parks ground maintenance contractor strim around the posts. It’s a long task and carried out over several weeks, mostly before the park opens to traffic.
PARK EVENTS: That require full or part road closures in Richmond park during 2016 are planned for: –
Sunday 31st July Ride London Full road closure
Sunday 18th September London Duathlon Full road closure
Sunday 30th October Trick or Treat Run Partial Road closure
THE COCKCHAFER is a large beetle that can often be seen and found in the Park and gardens at this time of year. There are 3 different species that all look very similar with their rusty red wing cases but the Common Cockchafer is the most abundant. The grubs of a chafer beetles are considered a horticultural and agricultural pest because they can damage root crops and lawns. The excessive use of pesticides in the 1950’s had a dramatic effect of chafers but better regulation of pesticides since the 1980’s has helped numbers return. Large beetles are essential food for the UK’s larger, fast flying bats (the Serotine, Noctule and Leislers bats) and the grubs are enjoyed by badgers who plough the park soil with their muzzles looking for essential proteins!