The Royal Parks team in Richmond Park produces a monthly diary (June issue below) which is displayed on the Park's public notice boards. 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 Chris Mason at [email protected]
Richmond Park in June
Dog walking advice Take extra care during the deer birthing season (May-July) when newborn deer are often hidden by their mothers in bracken or long grass. Female deer are very protective of their young and can act defensively if disturbed. All park users are advised to keep at least 50m away from deer, never get inbetween two deer and never feed or photograph the deer at close range. At this time of year, dog walkers are advised to stay away from the parks. If using the parks they should:
• keep their dogs on a lead at all times.
• let go of the lead if pursued by a deer. The deer are less likely to charge if the dog runs away from them.
• stick to busier areas at the edge of the park and avoid nursery areas in the quieter interior.
The new golf course club house opened for trading last year but it was officially opened by HRH Princess Alexandra on 28 May. The golf course has also been re-designed and the new layout was opened for playing on 31 May.
Caterpillars At this time of year The Park’s trees host a large number of caterpillars. While we often think of caterpillars as only being the larval stage of the 59 UK species of butterflies, there are also over 2400 species of moth. All these caterpillars eat leaves and at night, in June, oak woodlands resound with the noise of them foraging and the woodland floor becomes dusted with their droppings.
The oaks then produce a fresh surge of new leaves known as Lammas growth, which has evolved to compensate for the damage caused by the caterpillars. Only a very few caterpillars go on to become butterflies and moths, whilst the vast majority get eaten by young birds. In turn the birds get eaten by predators such as sparrow hawks.
Caution – Lyme disease The warm weather and plant growth provides cover for ticks that can attach themselves to deer, dogs or humans, potentially causing Lyme disease.
Whilst the chances of contracting the disease are low, symptoms can be serious so it’s worth taking sensible precautions. Wearing long trousers, long sleeved shirts and using insect repellents can help to prevent ticks.
If you find a tick on you and develop cold/flu like symptoms or find a rash develops it would be advisable to discuss this with your doctor. Dogs can be prevented from getting ticks by using drops supplied in pet shops or vets. A leaflet is available from Holly Lodge or contact NHS Direct on 0845 4647 or see their website.
The Isabella Plantation in June
Rhododendrons The spectacular flowering of the evergreen azaleas is now over and the stage is left to the late rhododendrons and deciduous azaleas, many of which are fragrant, set against a backdrop of purple flowered naturalised Rhododendron ponticum.
Bog gardens The huge prickly leaves of the Gunnera manicata conceal its stout flowering spikes, and contrast with the 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 plant 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 Thompson’s 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.
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 can be found at the Broomfield Hill and Bottom Gate entrances to the Plantation).