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: Echinops, Pauline Lazell

July has been a very challenging month with very little rainfall and record breaking high temperatures - but we’ve soldiered on.

The Smudge Garden seems to have faired quite well although the Astrantia has been scorched. We have been giving it regular water and the new growth looks quite healthy, so we hope for the best. We have also done some selective watering here concentrating, in particular, on the recently planted Thrift and the Pasque flowers.

In the Sensory and Wildlife Garden the Michaelmas Daisies, Lavender, and Geraniums don’t seem to have been affected too badly, and the Echinops is looking very happy and is currently in flower. The Hydrangea is also, surprisingly, in flower. However, we have lost one of the Phlox. The Rosemary doesn’t seem very happy and the sage has really suffered. This is unusual as they are both Mediterranean species and you would expect them to cope better with hot weather.

Image: Hydrangeas, Pauline Lazell

The flowers on the Crocosmia and Penstemon have also been scorched. We have dead headed the Penstemon flowers so may well get a second flowering and we have watered the Crocosmia to protect the corms. The Poppies have finished flowering but have lovely seed heads, so we haven’t removed them but have removed the leaves. This will allow the seeds to be dispersed and also gives us some interesting structure in the garden.

The grapevine over the arbour is quite rampant, covering the roof well but we have had to cut it back slightly where it was growing into the nearby trees. The clematis has also done very well and the new jasmine is flourishing and already has some flowers on it. With the roof covered it has shaded the beds around the arbour so they have only needed minimum watering, and the two new Lavenders are doing well.

We have been keeping an eye on the roof gardens on the two bug houses and the one in the Wetlands is looking really good with the new Sedums spreading very well. They were in full flower earlier in the month and this prompted some positive comments from a number of visitors.

This month has been largely one of maintenance. We have done some weeding in shaded areas and tidied up fallen leaves and twigs. Our main focus has been on selective watering. On a couple of occasions we have connected two hosepipes together but we found that they could only reach half of the garden. Luckily we have three watering cans and the exercise has done us good!

Image: Burnt Sage, Pauline Lazell

There is talk of refurbishing the Sensory and Wildlife Garden within the next couple of years, finances permitting. In consequence Ranger Nicola joined two of us in a walk around the garden to share ideas that could be incorporated into the plans.

Plant sales have gone from strength to strength and it does give us an opportunity to interact with our visitors.

With any luck we might get some significant rainfall in the near future which will enable us to be more proactive around the gardens.

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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