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Chair’s Welcome

I am delighted as Chair of the Friends to welcome you to our website. Bushy Park and Home Park are two wonderful large green oases in the south west corner of London. Feeling wild, they are natural places with ancient histories, fascinating heritage and superb wildlife. Both are Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) containing rare species. These are places to be enjoyed and conserved. Which is why the Friends exist, campaigning, supporting and protecting the parks, and enhancing visitors’ enjoyment with information, advice and guidance.

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Saturday Walk: The Woodland Gardens

Saturday Walk: The Woodland Gardens

Friends at start of guided tour

On Saturday 3rd September, The Head Gardener of the Woodland Gardens, Chris Nickerson led 45 of us on a guided tour of the work he has done and is continuing to do in both the gardens.

We met at the Welcome Centre as usual and a few steps later were at the bank which the Friends planted two years ago with 450 pachysandra terminalis (Japanese spurge) and vinca minor (Periwinkle).

Sadly the rabbit population took a liking to these and many were lost, but the bed has been planted with low growing yew less likely to become rabbit food. The old dead tree stump there is 300-400 years old and is left there to become home for woodpeckers, stag beetles and other wildlife.

Over the duck bridge to Triss’ Island cleared by volunteers and planted with evergreen azaleas. Once established the flowers will be reflected in the water as they were many years ago. Further on, on the south border there is a new grass area with a bamboo walk. One side has been planted, the other side will be planted by taking the shoots from the boundary line of plants.

Across Ash Walk we came to the giant Gunnera Macinata growing vigorously, but in winter their crowns will need covering with leaves to protect them from frost. Chris is clearing little secret areas of garden off the main path where one can sit and be peaceful, although there are no benches in the majority of them.

Contemplation Glade is one where the dreaded Rhododendron ponticum is prevalent. New Cotinus coggygria (Smoke Bush) are being planted and once they have grown the Rhododendron ponticum will be removed. It needs to be removed as it carries a disease which affects oak trees.

We moved on to Fisher’s Pond and Field, named after Joseph Fisher who laid out the gardens as we see them today in the middle of the last century. Chris’s plan here is to plant rather more unusual trees one of which is Catalpa bignonioides – the first was stolen, the second died back but is now on the mend. Only one or two trees will be planted each year, so any gardener planting in an area like this will never see the completed garden as it will take 80 years to mature. The conifers were planted in the 1970s and are not really suitable.

We walked through to Birch Glade, and admired the information board provided by the Friends. This area is still under development and will be where the Friends will plant bulbs on Saturday 5th November. All will be welcome; tools will be provided. All that helpers need to bring are sensible shoes and a pair of gloves.

It was a very interesting morning as we had a “behind the scenes” account of how much work and thought goes into caring and developing gardens such as these.

Many thanks to Chris for his time and for sharing his enthusiasm with us.

Pieter Morpurgo

Why we need more Friends

With more members our voice is stronger when we campaign to protect the Parks, and with more subscription income we can do more to provide information and education about the Parks, their wildlife and their history.

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Walks & Talks

Forthcoming event

Thursday, 23rd Nov 8:00 pm

The Royal Parks in the Great War. Talk by David Ivison

Latest report

A perimeter walk of Home Park led by Nicholas Garbutt was enjoyed by over 45 people on 2nd September.Walk in Home Park- 2nd September

Full report...

Information Point

The Information Point next to the Pheasantry Welcome Centre café is where our volunteers help visitors to find out more about the parks and where visitors can purchase souvenirs of your visit to support our work.

Click this panel to visit our Information Point section and also to find out how you can get involved as a volunteer.