Information from the Royal Parks team in Richmond Park

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 [email protected]

ROYAL PARKS MARCH NEWS

Park Regulations:  The Royal Parks is considering a number of changes to park regulations including the introduction of car parking charges in Richmond Park and Bushy Park.  We are holding a 13-week consultation on the proposed changes which runs until Friday 1 May 2009.  A copy of the consultation document is available at www.royalparks.org.uk or write to: – Regulation Consultation, The Royal Parks, The Old Police House, Hyde Park, London W2 2UH or pick up a copy from the Park office at Holly Lodge during office hours. 

Dogs On Leads: Richmond Park has for a long time asked that dogs are not taken into Pembroke Lodge garden and for dogs to be kept on a lead in the Isabella Plantation.  A dogs-on-leads policy was also introduced for the bird nesting (March – August) where the Skylarks nest, on the ground, near Pen Ponds.  Since this introduction sky lark numbers have risen from just 2-3 pairs up to 20 or more.Unfortunately the Park has lost an ever-increasing number of water birds from the Pen Ponds, Bishops Pond and Adams Pond and dog attacks are largely responsible.  We therefore have to extend the dogs-on-leads policy to include these ponds to allow the wildlife a better chance of survival. 

Prince Charles Spinney:  work continues to restore 1 hectare (2 acres) of this small woodland in the south east of the Park.  Non native trees and trees in poor condition are being felled and cleared before replanting.   The new woodland mix consists of shrub forming species (predominantly Hazel) and other species that bear seeds and berries. The work will look a little harsh when first completed but the new trees will quickly establish into woodland with a better balance of shade and light needed to support woodland ground flora.

Tree Planting: The winter tree-planting programme has now been completed.  We have planted over 30 new trees and replaced those that haven't survived the dry weather we've received in recent years. In addition to Oaks and Chestnuts, that provide food for the deer, trees bearing smaller seeds such as Birch have been planted.  These provide food for birds such as Goldfinch and Siskin whose bills are especially adapted to cope with smaller seeds.

Deer: The cull of male deer takes place in February and is usually completed by early March.  By keeping the ratio of male to female deer at about 1:3, the aggression levels between males is kept low, yet there are still plenty of deer with antlers to be seen and the number of young born each year is not too excessive. 

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 GARDEN WALKS

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

  • March: Friday 6th, Sunday 8th and Friday 27th
  • April: Friday 3rd, Sunday 19th and Friday 24th

Walks last about 1.5 hours and are free of charge. Meet inside the Garden by the gate from Broomfield Hill car park at 11.00am

The Royal Parks' News and Isabella News are copyright The Royal Parks.