The Royal Parks team in Richmond Park produces a monthly diary (March 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 Roy Berriman at [email protected]

The Park in March

Pembroke Lodge car park  This will undergo some improvements works. A pedestrian route will be allocated in line with the main entrance to Pembroke Lodge with disabled parking on either side, on asphalt surface. Some drainage and two pedestrian crossing points will be installed. The area to the south of the car park will be made into an overflow car and the area to the north around the veteran tree returned to parkland.

Robin Hood Gate  The gate has been closed to vehicular traffic since 2003. This month alterations are due to commence to make the gates more suitable for pedestrian use and return some of the hard surface to parkland. The car park will also be altered to allow for disabled parking and an allocated space for the temporary refreshment kiosk.

New horse track The horse riding network is currently being improved between Prince Charles Spinney and Martins Pond. This badly damaged length of ride will have shallow ditches (swales) and underground pipes installed below a raised riding surface. This allows water to move freely below the ride and keep it from washing away the riding surface. Horse riders and walkers are asked to keep away from machinery whilst it is working.

Woodland works  The deer fence in Sidmouth Woods is complete, creating a 10ha enclosure free of deer. This will now be planted with shrub-forming native trees such as Hazel and Hawthorn to restock the ‘understory’ that was previously dominated by Rhododendron ponticum. As these mature, the woodland will increase its value as a wildlife rich habitat.

Ride London-Surrey This a cycling event announced after the Olympic Games, with the agreed route announced in February. On 4 August a 100-mile route will be closed to vehicular traffic to allow 20,000 cyclists to participate in the event. They will enter Richmond Park at Sheen Gate, turning right to Richmond Gate before heading south and out of Kingston Gate. They will enter through Richmond Park before 07.00hrs and all have passed through within a few hours. During this time it will not be possible to cross the roads. Later in the afternoon around 150 top professional riders will follow the same route through the park. Details will develop in time but the park will be closed to vehicles for the entire day on 4th August and there may be some disruption on 3rd August.

Painting The road gates at Sheen have now been painted and Roehampton and Kingston gates will soon return from the workshop with Richmond gates being the last to complete later this month. Sheen, Richmond and Kingston toilets have now been decorated and Petersham playground toilets should be completed by mid March.

A new toilet block is being installed at Roehampton car park, next to the ladies. This will accommodate the gent’s facilities when the old golf course club house is demolished this spring – following the opening of the new club house on the fare side of the golf course.

Mud on roads!  The recent de-silting of Pegs Pond in Isabella Plantation required machinery to move around the Park roads resulting in a prolonged period of ‘mud on roads’ whilst the weather was wet. Road sweepers and signs were deployed at the time but the wet weather resulted in difficult conditions. This work is now largely complete and mud cleared away.

The Isabella Plantation in March

Heather garden Here Erica x darleyensis ranges throughout in its pink and white varieties. Erica erigena forms taller dense mounds and is represented by "W.T. Rackliff" which is white, and "Brightness" which has rose purple flowers and bronze leaves. Set back towards the top of the Heather Garden is Erica lusitanica, tallest of all, with white flowers opening from pink buds. Erica carnea ‘Myretoun Ruby’ has recently been planted near the Swamp Cyprus its deep reddish pink flowers brighten this spot from January to May.

Camellias Following the path which runs through woodland up the western side of the Garden you will find two of the many famous williamsii hybrid camellias: Camellia 'Donation', and C. 'Inspiration' near the ancient pollard oak.

Nearby, the formal double white flowers, striped with red and pink, belong to Camellia japonica 'Lavinnia Maggi'. Camellias frequently produce 'sports', and you may find white, red and striped flowers all on the same plant. Camellia japonica ‘Preston Rose’ also grows in this area and bears salmon- pink paeony form flowers. Camellia ‘Parkside’ another williamsii hybrid bearing an abundance of large clear pink semi double flowers grows in Magnolia grandiflora Glade set back from Thomson’s Lawn. Another garden favourite, Camellia Japonica ‘Alba Simplex’ shows large white flowers with conspicuous yellow stamens and grows in many spots around the garden, including set back at the top of the main stream path.

Three Wilson plants Rhododendron lutescens, is an early-flowering rhododendron species from China, small leaves and primrose yellow blooms. Many of these plants grow set back to the east of the Main Stream. More, younger plants grow near the fence in Wilson’s Glade.

Wilson’s Glade is situated to the north of the entrance gate from Broomfield Hill car park. It houses a collection of plants introduced to this country by the famous plant collector, Ernest Wilson. Also near the fence of the glade is a group of Stachyurus chinensis, a shrub with long drooping racemes of soft yellow flowers. Close to the main path through the glade is Corylopsis veitchiana, a large erect growing shrub that also bears its flowers in large racemes of primrose yellow with conspicuous brick red anthers.

Magnolias During March several magnolias come into flower. A fine Magnolia stellata stands near the path above Thomson's Pond. Many others are planted throughout the Garden, particularly in woodland areas on the western side.Two young Magnolia x loebneri ‘Leonard Messel’ can be found growing in Bluebell Walk opposite Acer Glade. This large shrub or small tree bears lilac-pink flowers that are deeper in bud. A more mature form can be found growing on the other side of Acer Glade.by the Scots Pine

Narcissi Growing on the wet lawn near the gate from Broomfield Hill car park, the dwarf Narcissus cyclamineus, native of Spain and Portugal, has pendent golden flowers with narrow trumpets and upward sweeping petals, reminiscent of a cyclamen bloom. Soon to follow on this lawn will be N. bulbocodium, commonly known as the ‘hooped petticoat’, due to its widely flared trumpet.

Other plants of interest The “Fuji Cherry”, Prunus incisa, grows set back behind the Witch Hazel’s on the path leading from the Broomfield Hill gate leading to the lawn above Thomson’s Pond. This lovely Japanese species bears small white flowers, which are pink-tinged in bud and appear pink from a distance. Clematis armandii, an evergreen Clematis with creamy white flowers grows up a dead tree in Beech Bay, the area between Thomson’s Pond and the Main Stream. Rhododendron sutchuense stands above the Still Pond, this outstanding Chinese shrub bears a profusion of large bell- shaped flowers which are a rosy-lilac in colour with purple spots. This Rhododendron is another Ernest Wilson introduction.

In the ‘V ‘ between the streams area look out for two stunning Rhododendrons grown for both their stunning flowers and bark; Rhododendron shilsonii which has loose trusses of bell shaped blood-red flowers and Rhododendron hylaeum with its pale pink flowers. R.calophytum ‘Robin Hood’ grows above these two rhododendrons, set back off the main stream path and bears large trusses of pale pink bell-shaped flowers with a maroon basal blotch.

Isabella Plantation Garden Walks 2013

You are invited to join the gardeners for guided walks throughout the year. Walks will take place on:

March Sunday 17 and Friday 22
April Friday 5, Sunday 14 and Friday 26

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.

© The Royal Parks