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.

Mike writes...

In April we prepared the compost bins ready for the influx of new garden waste. There are three bins next to each other. We emptied bin one and stored the compost for use later in the year. We were then able to turn the contents of bin two into bin one and bin three into bin two.

Working in the Sensory Garden we cut back the michaelmass daisies where insects had sought sanctuary during the winter, as well as clearing dry grasses which we then shredded. These, together with some other general waste, were mixed in the compost bins. There was quite a bit of general weeding that we undertook in both the Sensory Garden and Smudge Garden.

With May being one of the wettest in recent years everything was growing quickly (including the weeds) so it was an opportune time do some general weeding and mulch the gardens before the soil dried out. The mulching took us the best part of a day!

As we entered May the comfry was coming into full flower and the red peonies looked particularly nice this year. It was lovely to see a mother taking a photograph of a young child using the peonies as a backdrop. In the Smudge Garden the wallflower shrubs were in full flower. Two of the new pasque flowers also flowered and set seed and the new geum added a welcome splash of colour. The alliums at the front of the garden were about three feet tall and we were amused to see a single snail under each of the flower heads. We planted a number of new plants including two honeysuckles and some velarium (which the insects love).

The old arbour has now been replaced - this necessitated the Rangers cutting down the clematis and grape vine that had covered the old one. In consequence we have been tying in the regrowth so that eventually it should cover the new structure. There is a stand of stinging nettles just behind the arbour which we have tried not to disturb, as it is an important plant for a number of insects including the red admiral and peacock butterflies which prefers to lay their eggs on the nettles.

Finally, we left the Bog Garden to its own devices but it was lovely to see it back with a lot of water in there. A number of our young visitors enjoyed looking at the tadpoles and at least one lower school party enjoyed a session of pond dipping!