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

Knopper galls are abnormal growths of the acorn caused by the larvae of tiny wasps (cynpid wasps). The adult wasps have a complex lifecycle which relies both on the native oak and the turkey oak. Life in a gall is also more complex than you could imagine with numerous parasitoidal insects feeding off the tiny wasp larvae and the gall itself. The knopper galls don’t harm the tree – they solely reduce the number of viable acorns that fall to the ground.

Deer advice for walkers The Royal Parks have reviewed their advice regarding deer and installed updated signs in the Park. The advice now posted on the Royal Parks web site reads:

"Deer are wild animals and can be unpredictable. Richmond Park is a nature reserve with herds of wild deer roaming freely. Recently, the number of owners choosing to walk their dogs in Richmond Park has increased considerably. Deer can feel threatened by dogs even over long distances and when the dog is not behaving in a provocative manner. This is particularly during the rutting (September – October) and the birthing (May – July) seasons. We recommend walking your dog outside the park at these times. This year The Royal Parks has received reports of three incidents in Richmond Park where dogs sustained injuries, one of which was fatal. During the same period three deer have been killed by dogs. 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."

Shire horse rides During the autumn half term break, The Royal Parks Shire horse team will be offering some guided tours of the Park with a difference. They will conduct tours on the horse dray to enjoy the autumn colours or a nocturnal safari. This initial trail is available to members of the ‘Friends of Richmond Park’. 

Park run – road closures A running event on Saturday October 20 will require the park roads to be closed between Kingston car park and Roehampton car park for most of the day and from Kingston gate to Ham cross for a short period in the morning. Traffic will be diverted.

October in the Isabella Plantation

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 it 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 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.

Bog garden 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 2012

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

October Friday 5th and 26th, Sunday 21st
November Friday 2nd and 30th, Sunday 11th

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.

© TheRoyal Parks