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: Michaelmas daisies, Mike King

September in the gardens

The Garden Volunteers looked after the Volunteer Stand at our ever popular Family Fun Day on the second of the month.  There were a lot of books donated a large number of which were sold. We also took over a good selection of potted plants and, again, managed to sell some. Plant sales are a good source of income which enables us to purchase peat free compost and other sundries for the gardens so we would like to thank everybody who supported us by purchasing them!

In the Smudge Garden we planted the alliums that we purchased last month. These are a tall purple variety called Purple Rain. In order to do so it was necessary to cut back some of the ground cover at the back of the garden to make room for one group. We also planted another group near to the existing alliums at the front. A couple of Welsh Poppies were also planted at the front of the border. There isn’t a lot of colour here at the moment but the Mexican Feather Grass and the ferns do look splendid. We are looking forward to next season where we hope to see a lot more colour in this area.

Image: (LEFT) Autumn Crocus after the downpour, Mike King.  (RIGHT)  Pheasant berry, Diane Briscoe

In the Sensory and Wildlife Garden we have continued to tidy up cutting back a number of plants including the Yellow Loosestrife and also fine weeding. The Lavender and Thyme have also been pruned back. There is quite a bit of colour here at the moment. The Autumn Crocus (Colchicum) has given a good show but, unfortunately was battered down by a heavy downpour. Nevertheless, it is still attracting bees. The Garlic Chives with their white flowers are also giving a good show. On the other side of the garden the Michaelmas Daises are now in full colour and are attracting a large number of bees. Near the entrance to the Wetlands there is a nice group of pink cyclamen in flower and we have recently added a couple more plants to this group.

A few Alliums, some Evening Primrose plants and three purple Lychnis have been planted in the raised beds. We do have some white Lychnis in the garden already so it will be nice to have the purple ones to compliment them. 

At the back of the garden the Pheasant Berry is in full flower. Its latin name is Leycesteria Formosa 

but it is also known as a Himalayan Honeysuckle. It was introduced into the UK by the Victorians. The flowers attract bees and blackbirds and pheasants adore the berries hence its common name. 

Image: A Wasp Spider, Pauline Lazell

We had quite a bit of dry material to deal with following the tidy up so we spent an afternoon shredding it all and depositing it in the compost bins.

In the gardens we have seen one or two small frogs and the usual bees, dragonflies etc but were surprised to see a Wasp Spider with its yellow and black striped back.   

Adrian, our garden designer, came to meet with us to further discuss the revamp of the gardens. We shared ideas and he will tweak the plans accordingly. The work should be starting in the not to distant future. There will be disruption but it will be well worth it and we are all excited to see the outcome.

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