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@example.com
Richmond Park in June
Caution – deer birth Take extra care at this time of year as new born 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 in between 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, then please: – keep your dog 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) and stick to busier areas at the edge of the park and avoid nursery areas in the quieter interior.
Cinnabar moths The bright red markings on the black wings of this moth are the same colour as ‘cinnabar’ which is the naturally occurring mineral containing the mercury ore. Cinnabar has been used as a pigment since Neolithic times and mined for the production of Mercury since the 1500s. The name cinnabar is also used for dyes and pigments made from other sources. Indeed the Dragon’s blood tree, which produces bright red roots used for dying, has the scientific name of Dracaena cinnabari.
The moths are easily seen in Richmond as they are numerous; fly during the day and easy to spot. The bright colour warns potential predators that they are unpalatable and the caterpillars, which are bright orange and black, absorb the toxic alkaloids from Ragwort to protect them from predators. So successful is the moth’s ability to thrive on ragwort (which is problematic to live-stock farmers) that it has been introduced to New Zealand, Australia and North America to help control the plant in pastures.
Roadside verges The perimeter road in Richmond Park is 7 miles long but including the links and the 1.8 miles only used by cyclists there are 11 miles of roads – or 22 miles of roadside verges.
Road posts are installed along most of the verges to discourage cars from driving off the road and every day, before the Park gates open, the verges are cleared of discarded litter. Keeping the verges cut discourages litter louts and makes it easier to spot items. The verges also serve as a pedestrian path in some places.
The grass is cut by the Park’s Shire horse team in the spring, but by June the road posts become concealed and are strimmed by the parks estates maintenance team. In various places there are swales – gaps where any rain water can flow off the road into the ditches and drains – and these also need to be kept clear of obstructions such as leaves during the wetter months.
Richmond Park Open Day – 13th September The Royal Parks will be hosting an open day at Holly Lodge on Sunday 13th September. The day is an opportunity for members of the public to meet a variety of people and organisations that work, manage or provide services in the Park. Entry is free but a charge will be made for parking at Holly Lodge. Watch out for more information and SAVE THE DATE!
Isabella Plantation in June
Rhododendrons The spectacular flowering of the evergreen azaleas is nearly over and the stage is left to the late rhododendrons 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 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 2015
You are invited to join the gardeners for guided walks throughout the year.
Walks will take place on:
June: Friday 26th, Sunday 14th
July: Friday 3rd and 31st, Sunday 12th
Walks last about one and a half hours and are free of charge. Meet inside the Garden by the gate from Broomfield Hill car park at 11am.