EVENTS CALENDAR 2017
• 04 Nov Pembroke Lodge Car Park (Fungi)
• 02 Dec Pen Ponds Car Park
All are welcome to join our walks. Start 10am from the designated car park unless detailed otherwise.
Informal birdwatching walks – Every Friday – meet at Pen Ponds car park coffee kiosk at 9.30am
• 14 Oct Deer (Peter Burrows Smith)
• 11 Nov Fungi (Janet Bostock)
Friends’ members only – no need to book – just turn up. Courses start 10.15am at Pembroke Lodge. (New members welcome – your friends can join here)
Richmond Park Diary October 2017
LOWLAND ACID GRASSLAND AND ANT-HILLS. Lowland acid grassland is a particularly important habitat for many highly specialised plants and animals. However it is also a threatened and fragile habitat that has seriously declined in the 20th century. Richmond Park hosts the largest area of acid grassland in the London area – there are 49 species of grasses, rushes and sedge along with a huge range of wildflowers such as harebell, heath bedstraw, heath speedwell, mouse-ear hawkweed and tormentil that thrive on the more acidic and nutrient poor soils.
The most important invertebrate within these grasslands is the Yellow meadow ant (Lasius flavus), which has been described as an ecological engineer. There is an estimated 400,000 ant-hills covering an area of 35 hectares, which contain 3 billion ant workers within Richmond Park! The ant-hills range in shape, size and structure but the largest ant-hills are within the acid grasslands, where it is low in phosphates, high in organic matter and has the greatest plant species richness and mite diversity. Therefore next time you walk across the grasslands, tread lightly and look out for the ant-hills and think what is also underneath your feet!
VISITOR CENTRE. The Visitor Centre at Pembroke Lodge car park celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. It was once a toilet block in need of refurbishment but after some careful planning and liaison with key stakeholders, it became a Visitor Centre in Easter 2007. It’s run by volunteers and open every day except Christmas Day where information, leaflets and maps are available along with a range of gifts to purchase. All the profits go towards important conservation projects such as the tern rafts on Pen Ponds and improvements along the Beverley Brook.
FUNGI. There are over 400 different types of fungi in Richmond Park, including Parasol mushrooms, many of which can be seen now until the first hard frost. Fungi are ecologically important, as they provide food and habitat to numerous insects and other animals and have a complex relationship with plants by supplying nutrients to their roots. Whilst some of these fruiting bodies are palatable to humans, many are not, but it is strictly forbidden to collect and pick fungi in the Park. It is also a criminal offence so please respect the signs and do not pick any mushrooms.
LITTER: There are over 140 litter bins in Richmond Park and The Royal Parks are working hard to ensure the Park is kept litter free. You can help us to conserve and enhance the important habitats and wildlife within the Park, by taking your litter home, picking up after your dog and using the bins provided. However if you’d like to get more actively involved, the Friends of Richmond Park are looking for volunteers to help litter pick across certain areas of the Park. For more information and details, please visit: Adopt an Area
DEER: This is a very important month, as the deer will be rutting so you will probably hear the stags bellowing across the Park trying to attract as many females as possible. Please respect the deer and this natural behaviour by keeping at least 50 metres away from them and do not touch, feed or photograph the deer at close range.
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 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
You are invited to join the gardeners for guided walks in the Isabella Plantation throughout the year.
Walks will take place on:
Sunday 22nd and Friday 27th October
Sunday 19th and Friday 24th November
Walks last about 1.5 hours and are free of charge.
Meet inside the Garden by the gate from Broomfield Hill car park at 11.00a.m.