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.

It has been another busy month!

Several trees had branches that were growing over the side garden in the Sensory and Wildlife area. This was throwing the area into dark shade so it was decided to remove some of them to let the light in. Two of us took on the task which proved challenging as we were not trained to use power tools. We used a long handled saw which was all of ten feet long. There was one particularly large branch.  We cut away part of the branch about three feet from the trunk to eliminate a lot of the weight and then proceeded to remove the remainder near to the trunk so as not to leave a “peg”. This took some time and we took it turn to use the saw. Eventually we managed to remove it! Other branches were more easily removed and we were pleased with the end result.

Following the removal of the branches we cut back any dead foliage and mulched the area. This highlighted the hellebores, primroses and cyclamen that are now well established there.

Willow weaving was another big task that we undertook.

There are several willow trees planted alongside the path and, over the years, they have been trained to form willow arches. The branches have been layered more or less horizontally and this produces vertical shoots. We didn’t have a chance to weave in the new shoots last year. In consequence they were really tall and there were a lot of them. We all worked on the task of weaving them back in. It’s really surprising how supple they are and we had no problem with the task. The only challenge we had was reaching some of the branches. We resolved this by using a broom to hook them and pull them down which prompted one or two strange comments from passers by!

Later in the month we cut back some of the ornamental grasses and thinned out some of the others and did a general tidy up. We also cut back the dead foliage under the silver birches near the compost bins and attempted to remove some of the brambles that were growing there.

We planted a couple of dogwoods in the area where we had removed michaelmas daisies earlier in the year. These are the siberica variety that don’t produce suckers but give bright colourful branches that are a feature in the winter. Provided they are cut back each spring they will continue to produce colourful new growth annually.

In the Sensory and Wildlife Garden we have planted a number of new plants including cyclamen, hyacinths and grape hyacinth and are beginning to see some wildlife including frogs and brimstone butterflies.  

After Easter we will start to sell some of our plants again and look forward to discussing them and having a chat with our many visitors - be sure to sign up to the Forest of Marston Vale newsletter for more information!

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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