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, Diane and David 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.

Banner image: Blossom on one of the fruit trees, Mike King

April in the garden

Another busy month! With a combination of rain and mild weather, everything (including weeds), is growing quickly. In consequence we have spent a lot of time hand-weeding in both the Smudge Garden and Sensory and Wildlife Garden.

The side garden gave a good show of spring flowers this year with Hellebores, Primroses, and Cyclamen in full flower. The Primroses seed readily and there were a lot of seedlings along the side of the path which we decided to move into the garden in order to boost the patches of established plants.

In the Sensory and Wildlife Garden we cut back the dead foliage from a number of the plants. This dead material had been left over the winter in order to provide shelter and food for the wildlife, but it was now time to remove it. We also cut back the tall bamboo and stored the canes which will provide support for plants later in the year.

Image: Coffee break in the garden

We acquired a small quantity of wildflower seeds and decided to plant them in pots which we then plunged together in the raised beds. They are germinating at the moment and we are looking forward to see them flower later on.

In the Smudge Garden the alliums are doing well and are in bud at the moment. The Pasque flowers have also flowered and are about to set seed. These are native flowers which are often found growing on downland. They have a lovely flower which attracts bees, and when the flower goes over they produce an impressive seed head. We introduced three plants a few years ago and they are now well established and have produced a few seedlings which we will allow to grow. The native Pasque flower is a pale mauve colour but there are white and magenta cultivars available. We spent a session mulching the flower beds using rotted wood chippings after having removed some weeds.

Image: Pasque flowers in the Smudge Garden, Mike King

In the Arbour we had a good show of miniature Daffodils and Hyacinths which we then dead headed. The Grapevine is growing well, and the Clematis is just coming into flower although we have had to remove some dead pieces. We are a little concerned about the Jasmine as it doesn’t appear to be doing very well and has a number of brown leaves. We think there may be a mineral deficiency in the soil and will do some research to try and rectify the situation.    

We have now received the plans for the revamp of the Sensory and Wildlife Garden and we met with Ranger Nicola and Adrian, the designer, to discuss them. Hopefully work will be starting in the autumn and we are really looking forward to it.

We are starting to see bees in the gardens particularly around the apple blossom. There is also frog spawn in the Bog Pond, and Great Crested Newts in the Sensory Garden pond.

We have restarted selling plants and this is proving popular with visitors. The income is useful as it enables us to purchase peat free compost and a few plants.   

We need support to grow and look after our green spaces

Our volunteers kindly donate their time to help us plant trees and look after our Community Woodlands and Millennium Country Park. For just over £1 per week you can help support us too:

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