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

Return of the cows The grazing trial continues for its fifth year with the return of two cows. They are held in a 4 hectare (10 acre) paddock near Holly Lodge. Cattle eat grass in a different manner to deer and are used on many nature reserves to subtly change the grassland and benefit wildflowers.

Deer cull This year’s deer cull will start as always on Monday 1 November. Last year a number of deer were transferred to Windsor Great Park to enhance the genetic diversity of their herds. This means fewer animals will be culled and all being well, the night time pedestrian gates re-opened sooner than normal.

Pen Ponds spillway Contractors have now completed the spillway works on both the upper and lower Pen Ponds. The fence around the bare soil will be left in place until it has become vegetated with grass. The soil that has arisen from the works has been stock piled in the nearby bracken but will be used elsewhere on other projects when needed.

Sand martin nest bank Within the enclosure of Upper Pen Ponds, separate contractors are building a Sand Martin Nest Bank on the lake edge. It can be seen from the opposite side of the lake, and resembles an artificial wall with over 50 access holes to small nesting chambers behind. During construction the building blocks are quite visible and detract from the unspoilt view. However, before completion it will be covered with a coloured render, helping to visually blend it into the landscape.

Sidmouth Woods Forestry contractors made good progress with the Rhododendron clearance in Sidmouth Woods. Helped by the light soil and dry weather this autumn they are due to complete the work by mid-November.

St Paul’s Tercentenary Gates During November the sub-ground concrete foundations will be installed at the Vista entrance looking toward St Paul’s Cathedral. Later this year a pair of new ornamental gates will be installed to celebrate the tercentenary of St Paul’s Cathedral. The gates will be flanked either side by new fencing backed with a Holly hedge. The view to St Paul’s from King Henry’s Mound will be much improved, but equally the gates have been designed such that the detail can be appreciated when walking around Sidmouth Woods.

The Isabella Plantation in November

Shrubs that 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 this month 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.

The Gardeners and The Friends of Richmond Park Garden volunteers have been busy removing Rhododendron ponticum from the Plantation in an effort to slow the spread of scale insect and sooty mould.

Removal of this invasive evergreen shrub will improve airflow and reduce humidity creating healthier conditions within the Plantation. It is hoped that this will not only stop the spread of sooty mould (seen on the upper surface of the leaf) but also reduce the risk of infection by other plant pathogens, most importantly Phytophera.

Isabella Plantation Garden Walks 2011

You are invited to join the gardeners for guided walks throughout the year. Walks will take place on:
November Friday 4 and 25, Sunday 13
December Friday 2, Sunday 11

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