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.

Image: Ice plant, Diane Briscoe

October in the gardens

Another busy month but mainly focused on tidying up in preparation for the Autumn.

There’s not a lot of colour in the gardens at the moment. Both the Michaelmas Daisies and Geraniums have finished flowering but the Ice Plant (Sedum Spectabile) is still providing some colour as are the rosehips and various berries on the trees.

The various grasses are providing  some interest at the moment and the Zebra Grass (Miscanthus Sinensis Zebrinus) near the bridge is looking particularly good. In the Smudge Garden the mature Mexican Feather Grasses (Stipa Tenuissima) are also splendid. There are a lot of their seedlings here a number of which were transplanted to the centre of the garden. Hopefully these will mature and clump together.

Image: Grasses in the gardens, Diane Briscoe

We haven’t done much planting this month although we did introduce some more Evening Primroses (Oenothera) into the raised beds and some primroses in the side border.

Our main tasks have been to tidy up the gardens cutting back some plants and doing some general weeding. Two of us spent a session removing various clumps of Pendulous Sedge (Carex Pendula) from the raised beds. This is a native plant and grows quite vigorously. Although it is shallow rooted it is difficult to remove because of the size of the clumps but it was good exercise! We also noticed that the roof garden on the bug house near the compost bins was rather overgrown. The main offender was a Creeping Buttercup (Ranunculus Repens) that had seeded itself and then sent out numerous runners which took some time to remove.

The arbour also needed some attention as both the Grapevine and Clematis had spread right across the top and were hanging down over the front. We cut these back and generally tidied them up thus improving the appearance of the arbour.

In the side garden we cut back a lot of the geraniums and hoed around them freeing up some of the plants that they had crowded out. We were pleased to see how well the Hellebores and Cyclamen had established here and cutting back the Geraniums made them much more visible. The Dogwood trees had branched over parts of the garden so we removed a number of these branches in order to let more light in to the area.

We haven’t seen a lot of wildlife this month, just the occasional frog and newt - learn more about our resident newts here!

The revamp of the gardens is due to start soon and we are quite excited to see the results - more information on this coming soon!

This will be the last blog of 2023 but we will resume in the spring next year. We hope you have enjoyed the blogs and, perhaps, have found them informative!

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