The Royal Parks team in Richmond Park produces a monthly diary (October 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 October
Reptile surveys The Park has limited records for reptiles and with only occasional sightings of Grass Snake and Common Lizard reported, it’s difficult to estimate their abundance. The charity Froglife have placed a number of dark mats in the Park to survey for reptiles. As the snakes and lizards come out of hibernation in the spring they like to take refuge under the mats which warm up quickly
Lone walking Many of our visitors walk around the Park on their own and very occasionally they may experience a trip or fall when walking cross country. We recommend that lone walkers always tell a friend that they are visiting the Park and when they might be expected back, and always take a mobile phone to summon assistance.
Running event – partial road closures On Saturday 19 October the Park road will be closed from Roehampton Car Park to Kingston Car Park. In addition the road between Kingston Gate and Ham Cross will be closed for a short period in the morning. The event is a 5, 10 or 15 km run exclusively for women – entry via www. Humanrace.co.uk
Deer rut advice for walkers The deer rut really gets under way in October and the advice given last month and on Park posters continues to be important at this time. The Royal Parks often receive reports of incidents in Richmond Park where dogs sustain injuries, as well as deer being chased by dogs sometimes with fatal consequences.
We recommend walking your dog outside the park during October. If you choose, at your own risk, to walk your dog in the park at these times, it is advisable to keep your dog on a lead and consider an alternative route, such as following the wall line of the park, close to exit gates. If you don’t have a dog, keep at least 50m from the deer and stay alert.
Fungi Once the summer weather breaks, the soil and air becomes damp with autumn rain allowing Fungi to emerge without drying out. Some species can be seen all year round but the abundance and variety are displaying now and last only until the first hard frost.
Fungi are neither plants nor animals – they are decomposers of organic matter, surviving underground or within plants all year but emerging as mushrooms or toadstools in order to reproduce.
Some of these fruiting bodies are palatable to humans, whilst most are not and a few are poisonous. Collecting mushrooms is forbidden in the Park as doing so will diminish the population within the ecosystem. Despite what celebrity chefs say, if you do want to forage mushrooms, you will need the landowner’s permission and avoid protected areas.
The Isabella Plantation in October
Early autumn colour, flowers and fruit
Near Thompson’s pond
Nyssa sylvatica, the "Tupelo Tree", growing on the bank of the Pond assumes brilliant colours from gold to flame this month.
Parrotia persica, the "Persian Ironwood", grows on Thompson’s Lawn; this tree has a wide spreading habit and colours richly in autumn.
Liquidambar styraciflua, the "Sweet Gum" grows on a boundary lawn set back from the path; it has lobed leaves similar to those of an Acer but can be distinguished by the alternate rather than opposite arrangement on the shoot.
Another “Sweet Gum”, Liquidamber styraciflua ‘Worplesdon’grows on Thompson’s Lawn, it is pyramidal in shape; unlike most this cultivar often bears fruit in Britain. Both these trees are transformed into a kaleidoscope of colour with leaves ranging from pale yellow to dark crimson hues.
The native “Spindle Bush”, Euonymus europaeus, can be seen growing at the top of Thompson’s Lawn in the shelter belt area, its mid green leaves redden in the Autumn as its red fruits open to reveal orange seed. Euonymus alatus also grows on the southern boundary of the Thompson’s Pond area and is one of the finest deciduous shrubs for autumn colour, with leaves turning a rich rosy scarlet before falling.
Last but not least seek out Stewartia monodelpha standing below Thompson’s Pond its leaves bear rich autumn tints.
Elsewhere in the Plantation:
Callicarpa bodinieri ‘Profusion’ bears dense clusters of violet fruit. A group of these shrubs may be seen on the banks of the small stream flowing from the Still Pond. A common streamside plant within the garden is Osmunda regalis, the “Royal Fern.” At this time of year the fronds turn an attractive golden yellow colour before dying back in the winter months.
Acers throughout the garden show autumn tints and bear ‘propeller driven’ seeds. The red foliage of the large Acer palmatum above the Still Pond reflects in its dark waters. Hamamelis mollis, the”Chinese Witch Hazel”, near the gate from Broomfield Hill, turns a rich butter yellow.
Look out for Acer rubrum ‘October Glory’ which has spectacular foliage in autumn with long lasting colours of rich metallic-red and orange.
It can be found growing in a number of places within the garden, including the glade behind the toilet block just off Camellia Walk. The large rounded leaves of Vitus cognetiae, the climbing vine shows stunning crimson and scarlet autumn tints, it can be found scrambling up an oak tree near a bench on the Main Stream. In Wilson’s Glade Viburnum betulifolium grows alongside the main path at this time of year its long swaying branches are laden with red-currant like fruits.
The three clumps of tall grass bearing elegant silky flower plumes and showing reddish brown are those of Miscanthus sinensis Malepartus. A form of “Sacred Bamboo” Nandina domestica ‘Firepower’ grows within the Island bed and the marginal bed adjacent to the pontoon decking. This compact shrub has yellow-green foliage in summer which turns orange-red in the autumn and winter months.
Nyssa sinensis is planted in the main Bog Garden bed and also by the stream, look out for its narrow pointed leaves that are purplish when young and then mature to a brilliant scarlet in the autumn months. The gardeners protect Gunnera manicata from hard winter frosts by cutting and laying the giant rhubarb like leaves over the crown of plants. As autumn moves into winter and the leaves rot a layer of bracken fronds harvested from the Park will be added to the leaves to further protect these plants.
Isabella Plantation Garden Walks 2013
You are invited to join the gardeners for guided walks throughout the year. Walks will take place on:
October Friday 4 and 25, Sunday 20
November Friday 1 and 29, Sunday 17
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.