Chances are if you've visited Millennium Country Park in recent years then you've definitely seen the handiwork of our dedicated Volunteer Gardens!

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.

With the heat, torrential rain and wind July has been an interesting month weatherwise.

We continued general weeding in both the Smudge Garden and Wildlife and Sensory Garden and cut back the comfrey and aquilegias before they set seed. It was also necessary to free a cotoneaster which was overgrown with brambles and also trim some of the shrubs.

We found some inula and burdock growing in the periphery of the garden and had to dig them out. They both have deep roots and if left untouched would soon take over, crowding out other less vigorous plants.

The wind battered down some of the taller plants which we had to support with canes that we had cut from the bamboo last year and saved for such an eventuality.

We introduced a number of plants to the Wildlife and Sensory Garden. These included crocosmia, variegated lamium, physostegia and phygelius. Unfortunately, the rabbits have taken a liking to the physostegia!

The penstemons are now going over but their bell shaped flowers have provided a good food source for the bees. We have had a lot of bees in the gardens attracted by the flowers but we are not altogether sure what species they are. There are 276 recognised species of bee in this country and even the experts have difficulty in identifying some of them.

Early in the month we found a lot of small frogs, no more than a centimetre long. Quite a few of these will be predated but hopefully a good proportion will survive into adulthood. They are good for the garden as they are quite partial to snails and slugs.

Other wildlife that we have spotted in the gardens include tiger moths , a red underwing, cockchafer beetles, and butterflies including brimstones, small whites, peacocks and gatekeepers. We did think we might see some common lizards during the hot weather this summer but we haven’t so far. The photograph shows one basking in the sunshine on top of one of the upright posts at the edge of the garden last year.

The clematis and grape vine have continued to grow vigorously on the arbour and we have continued to support them. The Rangers have recently attached a number of wires along the side and over the roof of the arbour and this will provide strong support for these plants. At the base of the arbour we have attached gravel boards which has created a series of flower beds that we will be planting in due course.

We all enjoy working in the garden and talking to the visitors who are often complementary!

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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