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.

March and April in the gardens

Rather interesting weather at the moment with heavy rain and sunshine. This has, to some extent, meant that plants are growing quite rapidly. That is plants that we want and also weeds!!

We now have three  new compost bins thanks to two of our volunteers. They are constructed using concrete posts and scaffolding planks. The planks were kindly donated by a local company and they have been covered with heavy duty off cuts of pond liners. This should give us many years of use. As mentioned in our last blog the compost that we had by us was transferred to a number of builders bags. On completion of the bins we emptied a lot of the compost into them. However, some of the well rotted compost was used to top dress the beds around the arbour, and some was sifted to be stored for later use.

In the Smudge garden we cut back the Hebes and did some general weeding. The Pasque Flowers (Pulsatilla Vulgaris) have been particularly good this year and are currently producing seed. Also the Alliums are about to flower. The area close to the building is quite shaded and we have been thinking about using some of the funds generated by plant sales to purchase a suitable shrub to be planted there.  We are thinking of getting a purple flowered Azalia. This is suitable for this location and the colour will match the colour theme in the garden. We will also need to get some ericaceous compost for when we plant it. We are still waiting for a delivery of well rotted wood chippings to top dress the area. 

In the side garden we have planted some more Hellebores that have been produced in our own gardens. The idea is to further develop this area as a spring garden to compliment the Hellebores, Cyclamen and Primroses that are already there. We should also have some Primroses and Hellebores for sale later in the year. We have spent some time potting up a variety of plants and hope to resume plant sales in the near future. The money raised is all used in the garden enabling us to purchase new plants, potting compost (peat free) and other sundries. 

In the Sensory and Wildlife garden we spent a session removing the Persicaria plants from the small bed next to the bridge. These were planted when the garden was first set up over twenty years ago and have become very tired and have not been producing a very good show of flowers over the last few seasons. They were heavily clumped together and took some time to remove.

We split them up and replanted a lot of the new shoots in the same area and then top dressed them with compost. This should revitalise the area and we look forward to seeing the results next year.

Image: Photos taken by Pauline Lazell showing the raised beds in the Sensory Wildlife Garden, showing forget-me-nots, geraniums beginning to flower & the mahonia showing its new growth of red leaves. 

On the raised beds we have done a lot of weeding. We also found some Bluebells here. However, they appeared to be hybrids of our native species and the Spanish Bluebell so it was necessary to remove them to prevent further hybridisation. The Rosemary plants are currently in full flower and attracting a lot of bees. We have also noticed an increasing number of Ladybirds here. 

The work on re-design of the and Sensory Wildlife Garden is about to resume. In the near future contractors will be starting work on the bog garden as well as laying new paths and wooden railings. A trellis is also due to be constructed near the compost bins but this may well be constructed by volunteers. 

Visitors to the café may have noticed that the outside Terrace area is now open. We have planted up the a number of troughs here and there are small potted plants on the tables. This is a very pleasant area and we can recommend it as an excellent place to enjoy a drink and meal. 

We will be installing a water butt behind the new changing places toilet area soon. This will provide a source of natural water for us to use during spells of dry weather. There are also plans, in the future, to place large potted plants around the outside of the building.

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