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, 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.

Banner image: Michaelmas daisies, Martin Rogers

October in the gardens

Another busy month with mild temperatures, but at least we’ve had some rain!

In the Smudge Garden the wallflower shrub that we cut hard back earlier in the year has, as we expected, died. We removed it and raked over the soil and planted some Pasque flower seedlings that were growing in the scree area.

We did some weeding in the flower beds around the Arbour and noticed that the pulmonarias were not looking very happy. The grape vine and clematis are very dense over the roof throwing the beds into shade and this is probably the problem with the pulmonarias. It will be necessary to remove them and replant with a more shade tolerant species. We did plant some tete a tete miniature daffodils last year which did well so we planted some more which should give a good display in the spring.  

Image: Bee on the ginger rosemary, Mike King

In the Sensory and Wildlife Garden the two box shrubs that were suffering from box blight have been removed leaving the stumps. We spent some time removing the side roots and also drilled some holes into the top of one of the stumps. Hopefully this will allow them to rot down more quickly. We were surprised that the soil was here was so dry, almost dust. The following week we top dressed one of these areas with the compost that we had stored earlier in the year and, as luck would have it, we had a torrential down pour of rain the following day. We wouldn’t normally top dress dry soil but it was in such poor condition that we felt it would be beneficial.

Other jobs in the Sensory and Wildlife Garden included thinning out some of the tall shrub roses, removing some Dogwood suckers behind the willow arches and cutting back the geraniums. The Michaelmas daisies are just going over and we plan to remove a lot of them in the near future before they seed. The majority are pink but there are a few red ones amongst them. We tied ribbons around the red ones so that we can identify them later on. The intention is to group all the red ones together in one clump. With the mild weather the Rosemary plants are in blossom and these, together with the blossom on the Choisya are attracting a lot of bees. Other colour in the garden at the moment includes Cyclamen in the roof garden on the bug house, berries on the Cotoneaster, and rose hips.

Image: Cyclamen on the roof garden of the bug house, Mike King

The foxgloves that were planted in the side garden have been disturbed by the rabbits. They don’t appear to have eaten them but scraped the soil around them. This is probably because the soil has been disturbed whereas the surrounding soil was still rather hard. We planted a few more foxgloves and covered them with wire. This seems to have had the desired effect.

Three of us spent a morning session removing weeds and moss from the block paving on the patio behind the building in preparation for the wedding fayre. The following week we also removed a lot of bamboo seedlings and other weeds from the block paving opposite the Bog Garden.

This will be the last garden blog of 2022 as we wind things down for the winter. However, we will resume the blogs in the spring!

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