Chances are if you've visited Millennium Country Park in recent years then you've definitely seen the handiwork of our dedicated Volunteer Gardeners! PaulineMike, Helen, and Diane meet at Millennium Country Park every week - come rain or shine! - and look after the day-to-day maintenance of the garden areas that our visitors love so much.

Each month they'll be giving us an update on what they've been up to in the Park, and features to look out for on your next visit.

Winter in the garden

Again we have been quite busy over the winter but with the inclement weather some of our coffee breaks have tended to be a little longer! 

In the Smudge Garden we have done our usual fine weeding and generally tidied up. We were pleased to see that the Snowdrops seem well established and, hopefully, these will spread. There are a couple of Primroses currently in flower and these should set seed which will be dispersed in the garden leading to a bigger show next year.  We planted a number of Allium bulbs towards the end of last season and these are growing well and should supplement the existing ones. They are a variety called Purple Rain. They are popular with bees and other insect pollinators and grow to a height of about a metre. In the scree area there are a lot of Mexican Feather Grass seedlings which we may well pot up ready to join our plants for sale. We are currently waiting for a delivery of composted wood chip which will be used as a mulch.

Image: Photos taken by Mike King

The work to renovate the Wildlife and Sensory Garden has started and this area has been closed to visitors as a safety precaution. Contractors have dredged out most of the reeds that were chocking the pond which now looks a lot better. Unfortunately, their mini digger broke down in the middle of the pond and a crane had to be brought in in order to recover it! This new look pond should start to attract water fowl and we have already seen a Mallard on it.

The compost bins are derelict and are due to be replaced. The remaining compost has been transferred into large builders bags for storage. The new bins will be made using concrete posts and scaffolding boards together with some of the wood recycled from the old bins. This should give them a good life span.

The bird house and “dinosaur eggs” have been removed in preparation for the Bog Garden. Our garden designer has produced a list of plants suitable for a bog garden which we have tweaked

and are now ready to order once the hard landscaping is in place. Visitors will also have noticed that the willow arches have been cut down and their stumps should soon be removed as part of the revamp.

The garden team have been working in the Sensory and Wildlife Garden when the contractors are not there. Here we have removed some more of the Pendulous Sedge as well as a lot of weed seedlings. A lot of the fallen leaves have also been raked up. It is intended, as part of the revamp, to create some bins in which to store leaves in order to make leaf mould. We have also done some pruning of the fruit trees, the buddleias, Pheasant Berries and Dogwood. These particular dogwoods have a red bark and do not spread so we have taken a number of cuttings which will be useful during the replanting of some areas of the garden. It has been pleasing to see how well the Hellebores have flowered this year and the Pulmonarias are just coming into flower and attracting bees. The shrubs are also doing well. The Mahonia’s yellow flowers added some colour to the garden early on and the Daphne is currently in full flower and giving off a lovely scent. The Osmanthus is just starting to flower and should also produce a lovely fragrance.

We are really looking forward to the new look gardens (read about the re-design of the Sensory Wildlife garden here). It will take the best part of the year to do it but it will be well worth it.

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