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.

This month they'll be giving us an update on what they've been up to in the Park in October, and also an overview of what they'll be up to over the quieter winter months.

Towards the end of October there was still some colour to be seen in the Sensory garden with the penstemon and michaelmas daisies still in flower but these will soon die back; we will leave the cutting back of the plants until the spring. This leaves the gardens looking untidy but the dead vegetation provides a safe habitat for many insects to over winter and the seeds provide a good food source for birds and small mammals. We are starting to see fungi appearing in the garden and these are the only things that are actively growing at this time of year.

It’s interesting to look back over the year which has seen a number of changes - the most noticeable is the new arbour. The old arbour was replaced early in the year and the vine and clematis were both cut back. Since then both plants have grown quite vigorously and we had to support them, initially using string, and then with wire. They now cover the structure. We also attached gravel boards between the uprights and created a series of flower beds which we later planted. The roof over the bridge was also replaced and we had to retrain the clematis up the side and onto the new roof.

We also started to pot up surplus plants from the garden using peat free compost and wooden plant labels. These we sold quite cheaply and made enough money to purchase the Captain Tom rose and some replacement compost.  

All five of us have enjoyed working in the gardens again this year and it has been a pleasure to see the gardens continue to flourish. It has also been interesting to see all the wildlife in the gardens. There have been numerous insects and bees as well as butterflies, moths, dragon flies and damsel flies. There have been frogs and toads that feed on the slugs and snails and there has been some evidence of newts in the bog garden. It was interesting to also hear about the small mammals that the Mammal Trapping Group identified when they did their survey. We have seen numerous birds flying over the gardens and it was lovely to hear the turtle doves cooing in the trees nearby. We have also enjoyed speaking to many of our visitors a lot of whom seem really interested in our work and are often complimentary.

Winter in the gardens

As we head into autumn and winter the gardens start to shut down and enter a period of dormancy. Even Gardener’s World ceases to broadcast until the spring!

There isn’t much to do in the garden this time of year but we will continue to meet each week to keep an eye on the gardens but I suspect that our coffee breaks might be a bit longer!

These monthly blogs are new this year and we hope that people have found them interesting. This is the last one for the time being but we will resume them in the spring when the gardens start coming back to life and our regular tasks start up again!

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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