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: Bumble bee, Martin Rogers

September in the gardens

At last we’ve had some rain! The ground is still very hard and dry, but we were grateful for what we got.

It’s been another busy month in the gardens. It started with the Forest Family Fun day where we took a lot of our plants across to the volunteer’s stand to sell. We were charging £3 for the larger pots and £2 for the smaller ones and were very pleased with the sales raising over £70 for the volunteer funds.

The rain did help and a lot of seeds started to germinate – including the weeds! We spent some time hoeing around the gardens, removing the weeds and tying back a number of plants. We also cleared three small areas in the side garden where we planted groups of Foxgloves. Fortunately the rabbits have left them alone, and hopefully we will have a nice display in the spring.

Image: Autumn Crocus (Colchicum Autumnale), Mike King

We are starting to see quite a bit of colour appearing in the gardens. The Michaelmas daisies are just starting to flower, and the Autumn Crocus (Colchicum Autumnale) is looking splendid and has attracted a lot of bees. The buddleia and knautia that we deadheaded last month are beginning to produce a vibrant second flush of flowers as well. A number of shrubs have flowers on them and the rose hips also add their usual splash of colour.

In the middle of the month we had a visit from Adrian, a garden designer, who was involved with the setting up of the Forest Centre and gardens twenty years ago. Ranger Nicola joined us and we all walked around the Sensory and Wildlife garden to share ideas for the proposed refurbishment of the area.

We noticed the two of our large Box shrubs are suffering from box blight. This is caused by two types of related fungi. These fungi were first recorded in the UK in 1998 and thrive in warm, humid conditions like we had last month. Unfortunately both shrubs will need to be removed but we are already making plans for other types of shrub to replace them.

We spent one afternoon using our new shredder and managed to significantly reduce the pile of dry material that we had accrued.

We have noticed that with the cooler weather there has been more wildlife in the gardens. We have heard a Cetti’s Warbler and seen a flock of Long Tailed Tits as well as a couple of Magpies. There have also been quite a few bees, damsel flies, and dragon flies.

We continue to interact with our visitors and two of us had quite a long conversation with a  gentleman who was a keen photographer and had bought his camera along to take some photographs around the gardens.

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:

Become a Friend of the Forest