Information from the Royal Parks team in Richmond Park
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ROYAL PARKS JUNE NEWS
Baby Cow: You may have already noticed that one of the cows gave birth to a baby bull calf during May. Although this was an unplanned pregnancy, the Park vet was confident that the cows are perfectly competent to birth and care for the calf in the field and would protect her offspring from rain, wind or cold. During the first week, the calf hid in the long grass and bracken whilst mum grazed nearby but within a week, the calf could be seen following his mum. The cows are due to return to Hounslow urban farm this month where the new calf will meet plenty of school children and become familiar with people.
Brcken, Ticks & Lyme Disease: The bracken that covers many open areas of the Park 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 www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk
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.
Bat Surveys: For several years, members of the London Bat Group have monitored bats in the Park by listening to them with special listening devices that make their echolocation calls audible to the human ear. This year the surveying has been stepped up with the help of a professional Bat Ecologist, who is one of only a handful of people that is licensed to catch and radio track these protected animals. The surveys help to confirm the species that are present and radio tracking helps us to know more about where they roost during the day. We are fairly confident that the Park supports as many as 11 of the UK's 16 species. If you ever find an injured bat or have a query about these animals, visit the Bat Conservation Trust at www.bats.org.uk. They run a 24 hr help line and co-ordinate a national network of volunteer bat workers who can help.
ISABELLA PLANTATION IN JUNE
Rhododenderons: 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.
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, “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 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 Planttion: 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 GARDEN WALKS
You are invited to join the gardeners for guided walks throughout the year. Walks will take place on:
- June: Friday 5th, Sunday 14th and Friday 26th
- July: Friday 3rd, Sunday 12th and friday 31st
Walks last about 1½ hours and are free of charge.Meet inside the Garden by the gate from Broomfield Hill car park at 11.00 a.m.
The Royal Parks' News and Isabella News are copyright The Royal Parks.