The Royal Parks' team in Richmond Park produces a monthly diary (June 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
June in the Park
Bats Members of the London Bat Group have for several years’ monitored bats in the Park by listening to them with special devices that make their echolocation calls audible to the human ear. From the surveys conducted in previous years we know for sure that the Park supports at least 9 of the UK’s 16 species. There is a very strong population of Brown Long-eared bats that are very sensitive to light and are rarely found in urban areas. Now is the time of year when bats are there most active – giving birth and raising young. If you ever find an injured bat or have a query about these animals look at the Bat Conservation Trust website – they run a 24 hr help line and co-ordinate a national network of volunteer bat workers who can help. You can also join the Friends of Richmond Park on their annual bat walk on 24th July.
Deer This month the deer give birth to their young. The Red ‘Hinds’ produce ‘Calves’, and the Fallow ‘Does’ produce ‘Fawns’. The young are not ready to follow their mothers in the herd for one or two weeks. Until then they lie hidden in deep grass or bracken. Their mothers graze in the vicinity, returning at intervals to groom and suckle them. At this age the young are very vulnerable to disturbance or attack by dogs, or from people who find them and interfere because they think they have been abandoned. Moving or touching very young deer may result in them being abandoned by their mothers and thus failing to survive, so please leave them alone. If a Red Deer approaches you it is probably because she has a calf somewhere nearby. Walking away from her may inadvertently mean that you are walking towards the calf. The preferred course of action would be to retrace your footsteps and take a wide berth on a different track. It is also best to keep to footpaths at this time of year, and to keep dogs on leads or under close control.
Bracken, ticks and Lyme Disease The bracken that covers many open areas continues to emerge, reaching ‘full frond’ by mid July. It provides cover for ticks that can attach themselves to deer, dogs or humans and potentially pass on Lyme disease. If you find a tick on you and develop cold like symptoms it is precautionary to tell 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 for advice contact NHS Direct on 0845 4647 or see their website.
Where are the cows? You may have noticed that the cows have disappeared from their paddock. They have returned to Bedfont Lakes to be looked after by the Hounslow Countryside Service who loan the cows to us. The 3 Highland cattle and 2 Dexter’s have done a fantastic job this winter of removing all the available forage and ‘opened up’ the grassland sward to allow more delicate species to flower this summer. They will return this autumn to continue their essential conservation work.
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 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.
Magnolia tripetala, the “Umbrella Tree” can be found growing in a glade set back of the Bluebell Walk. This tree has large leaves and in June produces cream- coloured pungently scented flowers, which are followed by attractive red, cone-shaped fruit clusters.
Guide to the Isabella Plantation Priced at 50 pence, this colourful and informative leaflet is on sale at Holly Lodge or can be obtained from the Warden within the Garden.
Isabella Plantation Garden Walks 2010
You are invited to join the gardeners for guided walks throughout the year. Walks will take place on:
June: Friday 4th and 25th, Sunday 13th
July: Friday 2nd and 30th, Sunday 18th
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.
The Royal Parks' News and Isabella News are copyright The Royal Parks