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.

Image: Echinops, Mike King

August in the gardens

With the school summer holidays in full swing, access to the Sensory and Wildlife Garden has been limited this month because of the ever-popular children’s activities taking place there.

The Smudge Garden had become rather weedy so we spent a session tidying up. The weeds were removed and some general tidying was undertaken. It was noticed that the Pasque Flowers had produced a number of seedlings in the scree area so we transplanted them into the front border. There was also an Astrantia seedling which was also transplanted. We have purchased some Allium (Purple Rain) bulbs that were on offer and these will soon be planted to compliment the existing Alliums. 

Image: White phlox in the Sensory Wildlife garden, Mike King

The grass had been cut in the Sensory and Wildlife garden so we raked this up and consigned it to the compost bins. We also did some general tidying in this area deadheading and removing weeds and collecting dead material off the ground. The Phlox, Hydrangea and Echinops are still providing some colour here and attracting bees. The tall Poppy stems are still adding some structure but they will need to be removed next month. We are also starting to see berries appearing on a number of the shrubs.

On the long border we deadheaded the Buddleia. This should produce a second flush of flowers which will encourage more butterflies (read our blog on how to create a butterfly-friendly garden). Buddleia is often called the Butterfly Bush and there have certainly been a lot of Peacock Butterflies on ours this year. We cut back some of the Michaelmas Daisies so that the shrubs behind them can be seen more clearly. The wire netting over the Snakes Head Fritillaries was also removed as part of the general tidy up. 

The block paving had a lot of weeds growing in it, particularly around the Bog Pond, so we spent some time removing these. Ants nests had also undermined some of the areas here so much so that the Rangers had to relay a lot of the blocks!

Image: Flying ants leaving their nest, Mike King

There have been a lot of insects in the gardens. As well as the Dragonflies and Damselflies there have been a lot of bees attracted to the Persicaria and flying ants everywhere as well as wasps, as usual, around the willow. It was also pointed out to us that there was a Hornets nest in one of the bird nesting boxes. 

We sold a good amount of plants at the Forest Family Fun Day on the 2nd September, so we want a big thank you to anyone who visited our stand and bought plants from us!

Image: Persicaria, Mike King

You can get involved in supporting your local Forest, join us today and become a volunteerFrom wildlife surveys, gardening and supporting events, there is something for everyone!

Interested? To find out more or register your interest contact our Community Engagement Officer