The Royal Parks team in Richmond Park produces a monthly diary (October 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 email@example.com
The Park in October
Beverley Brook restoration The South East Rivers Trust is now on site and will be working to improve the river for wildlife throughout October and November. The work requires heavy machinery working on the steep banks of the brook and so crowd barriers have been positioned to keep the work site safe from walkers and dogs. The work involves re-profiling the banks so it will look superficially messy especially if the weather turns wet. However the soil will soon become green again as new vegetation establishes in the Spring.
The trick or treat run The run takes place on Sunday November 1st and will require the park roads to be closed on the south side from Sheen Cross via Roehampton Gate to Kingston Car Park. Roehampton Gate will also be closed to vehicles.
Gallows Pond The pond near Kingston Gate is heavily colonised by an invasive non-native ‘weed’ New Zealand Pigmyweed Crassula helmsii. The pond also tends to dry up in summer. This autumn contactors will dig a new pond adjacent to the current one and fill in the ‘weed’ contaminated pond. They will also restore the ditch that flows out of the pond to the Park wall.
Reminder – deer rut advice for walkers Deer are wild animals and can be unpredictable. Richmond Park is a nature reserve with herds of wild deer roaming freely. Deer can feel threatened by people and dogs even over long distances. This is particularly during the rutting which starts in September and continues through October. We recommend keeping at least 50m from deer and give them the respect they need during the rut.
Forestry contractors Contractors have returned to Sidmouth Woods for the 5th year running to remove Rhododendron ponticumn. This year they will work on the southern area where Rhododendronis mostly on the boundary of the wood. The removed vegetation will be burnt and smoke may be detected nearby.
Herons and egrets Most people are familiar with grey herons that hunt for fish and amphibians in shallow water. They can often be seen on the Beverly Brook or at Pen Ponds where they also breed in small numbers. Occasionally the smaller Little Egret, which is also a species of Heron, is seen in the Park. It is all white with a black bill and legs, yellow feet and long delicate plumes on its neck and chest. They are stunning birds and have only been seen in England since the mid 80’s. They first bred in Dorset in 1996 and as the numbers steadily grow they are more frequently seen.
Please do not take fungi, conkers or chestnuts Please remember that the Park is very special for wildlife and removal of autumn fruits and seeds is illegal and detrimental the Park’s wildlife. Conkers and chestnuts form an essential part of the deer’s diet, without which they would not be able to build up fat reserves needed for the cold winter months.
Isabella Plantation in October
Early Autumn colour, flowers and fruit
Near Thomson’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.
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 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 2015
You are invited to join the gardeners for guided walks throughout the year. Walks will take place on:
October Friday 2nd and 30th, Sunday 25th
November Friday 6th and 27th, Sunday 15th
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.