The Royal Parks team in Richmond Park produces a monthly diary (November 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

Richmond Park in November

Fog and mist These are created when water vapour in the air condenses into a liquid but the particles are not large enough to turn into rain. Fog is said to occur when visibility is less than 1km whilst mist occurs if visibility is above 1 km. Water vapour condenses in a number of different situations. Clouds are essentially high fog, where the condensation happens high in the sky where warm moist air meets cold air. So essentially fog is low flying cloud!

Mist is more likely to form where water on a warm surface (such as a lake or the dew on grasses) evaporates into cold air – which is more likely at night, in the autumn or in sheltered valleys. The centre of Richmond Park at dawn is a particularly good place to see some very picturesque mists because of the sheltered lakes surrounded by an undulating landscape.

Danns Pond This is small water body in the south of the park, fenced to protect it from deer. It is one of the few places that the rare Great Crested Newt survives in the park. The Pond has become silted and heavily shaded by overhanging trees over many years. Phased restoration started a few years ago when 1/3 of the pond was cleared and de-silted. The newts were re-surveyed and the population appeared to have improved.

This autumn a further third has been de-silted and vegetation cleared. The work is always conducted by clearing vegetation and raking the ground during the summer whilst the newts are in the water, then in autumn when the newts have emerged and are hibernating the pond can be disturbed. Once the pond has settled down we aim to undertake a final phase of works in a few years’ time.

The pike is a long predatory fish that is found in both the Upper and Lower Pen Ponds. It can occasionally be seen from the banks as it lurks motionless in weed, waiting for small fish to swim within striking distance. They are generally less than 10lbs in weight but have been known to grow up to 50lbs and are capable of short bursts of explosive power.

Anglers traditionally fished for them in winter when other species of fish are more sedentary, but sports anglers prefer to catch species such as carp that offer a greater challenge. They are well camouflaged and have several rows of teeth that all point backwards in the mouth. Trivial nick names for the Pike include ‘snot rocket’, Mr Toothy and Sharp tooth McGraw!

Green Flag award Every year Richmond Park is entered for and receives a Green Flag award along with over 1500 public parks in the UK. An open vote also allows park users to additionally vote for their favourite park. This year Richmond Park was ranked at number 15 – this makes it within the top 1% of the country’s most popular open spaces.

The Isabella Plantation in November 

Shrubs which flower this month Camellia sasanqua ‘Rubra’ has small single red fragrant flowers and grows in the ‘V’ shaped section of the Garden formed by the convergence of the Main Stream and the Small Stream which derives from the Still Pond. Growing next to this shrub is Camellia sasanqua ‘Maidens Blush’ which bears similar flowers that are pale pink in colour. Look out for more C.sasanqua’s growing in other areas of the Plantation.

Autumn colour and fruits Acers throughout the gardens assume a variety of autumn tints.
Nyssa sylvatica, the “Tupelo tree”, growing on the bank of Thomson’s Pond turns to shades of rich scarlet, orange and red in the autumn.

Liquidamber styraciflua stands set back from Thomson’s Lawn; this tree was selected for its reliable autumn colour. At this time of year leaves take on shades of rich black, crimson and red.

Taxodium distichum, the “Swamp Cypress” grows by the side of Peg’s Pond and also on the bank of Thomson’s Pond. This deciduous conifer colours bronze in the autumn. When grown by water, larger specimens produce ‘knee-like’ growths called pneumatophores. These growths come from the roots and project above ground to enable the uptake of vital gasses in waterlogged, anaerobic soils.

Metasequoia glyptostroboides, the “Dawn Redwood” is another deciduous conifer and can be seen growing on Thomson’s Lawn. Its leaves colour russet before dropping.

Callicarpa bodinieri ‘Profusion’ grows along the Small Stream from the Still Pond. This shrub bears striking purple berries on bare stems.

Euonymus myrianthus can be found growing in Wilson’s Glade, this evergreen shrub bears stunning orange-yellow fruits that split to reveal orange-scarlet seeds. Arbutus unedo, the “Strawberry Tree”, can be found growing above Thomson’s Pond as well as other locations around the gardens. Red strawberry-like fruits are produced at the same time as white small bell-shaped flowers.

The heather garden Forms of Erica x darleyensis and Erica carnea flower throughout the winter. Also look out for Erica lusitanica, the “Portugese Heath” a type of tree heath whose stems are crowded with white tubular fragrant flowers that are pink in bud.

Nandina domestica, the “Sacred Bamboo” is planted at the top end of this garden. This evergreen shrub has purplish-red tint to the young leaves and a bears a profusion of red spherical berries at this time of year.

The bog garden The leaves on two stands of Gunnera manicata, the “Giant Rhubarb”, have been cut down and placed over a layer of cut bracken covering the plants crown to protect the plant from the elements during the cold winter months.

Gardeners and volunteers will be busy removing Rhododendron ponticum from isolated spots around the Plantation this winter. 70% of the R.ponticum within the Isabella Plantation has now been removed by machine. This is all in an effort to slow the spread of existing pests and diseases and also to safeguard the plant collection against future infection by fungal pathogens such as Phytophthoras, which have the potential to devastate the Plantation’s important collections of Rhododendron, Azalea and Camellia.

The removal of this invasive evergreen shrub will improve airflow and reduce humidity creating healthier conditions within the Plantation. The space created by clearance also presents an exciting opportunity to plant more native and exotic trees and shrubs, as well as create new glades, rides and open areas within the Plantation. Visitors to the Plantation should notice a whole range of new planting being carried out over the winter months.

Isabella Plantation garden walks 2015

You are invited to join the gardeners for guided walks throughout the year.

Walks will take place on:

November Sunday 15th, Friday 27th
December Friday 4th, Sunday 13th

Meet inside the garden by the gate from Broomfield Hill car park at 11am.