The Royal Parks team in Richmond Park produces a monthly diary (June 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Park in June
Caution – Lyme disease The warm weather and plant growth provides cover for ticks that can attach themselves to deer, dogs or humans, potentially causing Lyme disease.
Whilst the chances of contracting the disease are low, symptoms can be serious so it’s worth taking sensible precautions. Wearing long trousers, long sleeved shirts and using insect repellents can help to prevent ticks.
If you find a tick on you and develop cold/flu like symptoms or find a rash develops it is precautionary to tell your doctor. Dogs can be prevented from getting ticks by using drops supplied in pet shops or vets. A leaflet is available from Holly Lodge or contact NHS Direct on 0845 4647 or see their website. Or click here.
Baby deer It is usual for the Park’s deer give birth in late May and early June. The young are not ready to follow their mothers for one or two weeks and hide in dense bracken, with their mothers grazing in the vicinity.
This year the deer appear to have given birth a week or so early and the bracken appears to have developed a week or so later than usual. The lack of cover may make the deer feel particularly vulnerable to disturbance.
As a precaution we recommend that dog walkers avoid the more remote areas of the Park and stay on popular routes and open areas of short grass where any deer may be seen from afar. If a Red Deer approaches you it is probably because she has a calf somewhere nearby.
Walking away from her may inadvertently mean that you are walking towards the calf causing her to be more defensive. The preferred course of action would be to retrace your footsteps, back the way you came and take a wide berth on a different track.
By late June the Red Deer calves are generally mobile and will avoid people but the Fallow Deer fawns are generally born a little later and will still be vulnerable. For more information on deer in the Royal Parks please see the Royal Parks website or collect a leaflet from Holly Lodge or the information centre at Pembroke Lodge.
The St Paul's Tercentenary Gates were unveiled on 1st June at the Vista, on the boundary of Sidmouth Woods. Produced by artist blacksmith Joshua De Lisle, they were previewed by Her Majesty the Queen at Richmond Park’s ‘Wild London’ Diamond Jubilee event.
The gates were kindly donated by the family of renowned environmentalist, the late Edward Goldsmith. The gates depict oak branches with a small wren and robin sitting in the foliage. An epigraph ‘The Way’, incorporated into the gates, is evocative of the protected vista connecting the park to St Paul’s and defined by the cleared woodland which is a wildlife sanctuary.
‘The Way’ is also an epitaph to Edward Goldsmith, author of the book by the same name.
Mad honey! Nectar from the mauve Rhododendron ponticum flowers we see in the park in June can contain the chemicals ‘gravanotoxins’. If bees make honey from R. ponticum nectar it can produce ‘mad honey’. In 401 BC the Greek general Xenophon reported that mad honey stopped a great army in its tracks when his men raided wild bee hives near the Black Sea and became "like intoxicated madmen" and a "great despondency prevailed" for several days.
Four centuries later locals on the southern shores of the Black Sea deliberately placed toxic honeycombs along the route of the Roman army causing three squadrons to succumb to the delicious poison before being wiped out by their enemies!
The Isabella Plantation in June
Rhododendrons The spectacular flowering of the evergreen azaleas is now over and the stage is left to the late rhododendrons and deciduous azaleas, many of which are fragrant, set against a backdrop of purple-flowered, naturalised Rhododendron ponticum.
Bog garden The huge prickly leaves of the Gunnera manicata conceal its stout flowering spikes, and contrast with delicate fern fronds and the ribbed, glaucous leaves of hostas. Here and elsewhere bordering the streams, you will find Primula japonica, a candelabra type, in its red, white and magenta forms; lilac-purple Primula beesiana and fragrant yellow Primula florindae.
Several iris species are also in flower, including Iris pseudoacorus, our native yellow flag. The Day Lilly, Hemerocallis hyperion, with its lemon-yellow flowers also grows in the beds beside the stream. The new island bed looks stunning at this time of year with the fern Dryopteris erythrosora showing coppery pink young fronds and the Swamp Honeysuckle, Rhododendron viscosum, bearing its spicily fragrant, white flowers.
The birthday mound Digitalis purpurea ‘Alba’, the “White foxglove” is naturalised throughout this area which was planted in 2003 to celebrate Isabella’s 50th anniversary. This european native produces spikes of white bell-shaped flowers with a maroon spotted throat from a rosette of rich green leaves.
Stream side Along the Main Stream look out for Galax urceolata, a clump forming perennial with large, round, leathery, mid-green leaves which turn bronze in autumn. It has dense spikes of small, white flowers.
Wilson's Glade Look out for Neillia thibetica which grows opposite the Beauty Bush, Kolkwitzia amabilis, with its profusion of small foxglove-like pink flowers. This medium sized shrub has slender terminal racemes of pink, tubular flowers. Cornus kousa chinensis also grows in Wilson’s Glade, its numerous flowers which have conspicuous white bracts poised on slender stalks cover its spreading branches in June.
Flowering trees and shrubs worth seeking out include:
• Liriodendron tulipifera, the “Tulip Tree”, stands at the Broomfield Hill Top Gate and other locations within the garden. As well as having odd shaped leaves which turn butter yellow in autumn. It has peculiar yellow-green flowers, with internal orange markings, which appear in June and are tulip-shaped.
• Calycanthus floridus, “Carolina Allspice”, grows in the ”V between the Streams”; this Californian species produces aromatic red-brown flowers throughout the summer months.
• Stewartia pseudocamellia grows by the path above the Heather Garden. This deciduous tree bears five petalled white flowers with orange-yellow centres.
• Kalmia latifolia, which can be found where the path to the Still Pond crosses the Main Stream. It is an evergreen shrub, whose intricate pink flowers, when in bud,
resemble 'Iced Gem' biscuits.
• Styrax japonicus, the “Snowbell Tree”, has a profusion of small white bell-shaped flowers dangling below its slender branches. One of several can be found in the bay to the east of Thompson's Lawn.
• Azaleodendron 'Govenianum' has trusses of funnel shaped lilac-purple flowers which are very fragrant. A group grows by the sandy path leading to the west of the Garden from the behind the iron ‘1831’ sign.
Please help to support The Isabella Plantation Access Project by dropping your donations into the box by the gate. (Information about the Project and donation boxes are at the Broomfield Hill and Bottom Gate entrances to the Plantation).
©The Royal Parks