Some more, apparently unassuming, rainfall during the night transformed Perivale Park into an aquatic playground again. Here are some videos of the gushing waters.
Neil Anderson has sent this fantastic record of the birds he has spotted in the Park and surrounding areas, both in December and the whole of 2020. I will try to add a few photos of some of them later, but meanwhile can the Friends of Perivale Park wish everyone a happy new year and please call as often as you can to see the park and its birds!
Here they are:
With all these Zoom-based exercise classes which have taken off for obvious reasons in 2020, coupled with all the new facilities in the park, there is no excuse any more! And of course wash your hands after using them when you get home!
The last two years we have applied to Bulbs for London and this year we were also successful in getting a lovely box of assorted bulbs and seeds. Amazingly, it included some Eremurus tubers! Now that is exotic for you. A start to the planting was made yesterday and this time we have selected the south-west corner of the park for the planting.
I encountered a licensed drone pilot the other day, and we have just spent a delightful hour taking photos of the park from an angle I have never seen before. Fortunately, recent rains have filled up the ponds and even the sun cooperated by setting nicely.
This event will be taking place on Saturday 28th November, 2021. Please note that the time shown below should actually show a start time of 10.00, not 11.00.
From having just one pond in the park three years ago (the one known as the frog pond) we now have an abundance, big and small. At the last count it was nine in the main park and three on the other side of the railway embankment. Perhaps the most photogenic are the three ponds close to the kids playground, close to Coston’s brook, where the reflections of sunrise can make for some fantastic photos. Now these ponds are being added to. A fourth swale is now being dug on the other side of the little feeder stream, in-between it and the surfaced kids playground.
October is a favourite month for late summer colour. The Cosmos in particular always put on a good show and this year we had a lot of plantings of this flower around the park. In particular, the Gurnell-Greenway route along the Brent and Ruislip road and also the “three ponds” near the kids playground.
Visiting the park just before dawn is an interesting experience. It can be full of joggers and dog walkers and if you visit regularly you get to know most of them! I tend to go out to tidy up the park of litter before the commuters take over and perchance to pick up a spare roll of litter bags from the refuse collectors, who also tend to be out at that time. Today, dawn rose whilst I was passing the ponds and I managed the following snaps.
The last three days have seen near continuous steady rain. So its time to go out and see how the park (and birds) have responded. The ducks and gulls are out in force enjoying their new ponds. Meanwhile, some of the new paths in the Longfield meadows area have become ponds themselves.
Rectory park is to the west of Perivale Park and just south of Northala fields. The spring show there was subdued but recent rains have brought out the autumn flowers such as the cosmos wonderfully well.
In April, I wrote about the Cuckoo estate and the associated Cuckoo park, which is just south of Perivale Park.
London is sweltering at the moment (Greenford, ~34, Algiers a mere 28°C). Visitors to the park do not linger long in the open sun but seek secluded glades for relief. One such glade in Perivale Park was discovered this morning when a few of us gathered informally for some exercise. After half an hour of flexing as many muscles as could be reasonably stressed on a hot day, I noticed a splash of red colour in the background. Colour too is none to abundant at the moment, with the seeded and now parched wild flowers suffering as well.
Earlier this year, I put up a list of areas in the London borough of Ealing that had been seeded with flower mixes. Today a comment on the post alerted us that Trinity way open space in Ealing was looking particularly great at the moment. Curiously it was not part of the original list of sites in Ealing. So I headed in that direction and took some photos, seen below.
With mid-summer approaching, and with the help of a few rain showers, the summer seed-mix planted into the meadow next to the three new park ponds is showing its most colourful diversity.
Perivale park has a small “pocket garden”, being the old bowling green converted into an orchard with 34 fruit trees, four raised beds, four seating benches embedded in floral borders and four larger garden quadrants. These latter were prepared with a layer of sand last year and planted with bulbs, of which the allium (ornamental flowering onions) are currently in full glory. But earlier another bulb had its moment of glory, the Eremurus or foxtail lily (desert candles). This was quite an unusual planting, and a bit of an experiment to see if it will survive a winter and flourish.
The original meadow, first sown in profusion in 2017, has now morphed again as encouraged by recent showers. The flowers showing up now have a certain delicacy which requires a little extra attention from passers by. The cosmos about to come will soon balance this with a different more robust perspective. Note the allium in the orchard meadow that is finally starting to show its own colour.
Here are some photos taken around the newly replenished “playground” ponds in the park and sent to me yesterday. The dog is Paula’s and his name is Forrest and the photos are by Joana. Thanks Jo!
In 2017, a large meadow in Perivale Park was transformed with wildflowers. Next, the erstwhile manicured lawn of the old bowling green was similarly transformed last year, after it has to be said a few years of neglect. Now, news reaches me that another pristine and rather more famous lawn, apparently previously manicured and most definitely not neglected for 300 years or so, has imitated Perivale Park and gone all colourful.
Although this forum is about Perivale Park and its surroundings, I could not resist celebrating the partial release from lockdown by allowing visits to other gardens. In this case, RHS Wisley, about 40 miles away from the park.
After the yellows of spring, we now have the whites of early summer. Here are some of the daisies that are showing up well everywhere around the park, and indeed further afield.
The Perivale Park orchard garden (a “pocket park” project) after more than a year of preparation and planting, is starting to show its full colour.
All but one of the photos shown here, taken during our exercise around the perimeter of the park this morning, need no explanation.‡
Several people have asked me about the tennis courts in the park. A keypad system has recently been fitted to the main entrance from the Capital Ring and which is currently locked. What is going on?
Time for an exercising walk around the greater Perivale Park to see what is new. Literally a week can make a difference.
We revisited Horsenden west meadows today and returned to where we saw the salsify a week or so ago. It did not let us down. From a distance you might think the meadow had just grasses, but get up close and the effect is stunning. Much better than photographs taken with a phone camera can do justice to.
With golf courses closed to golfers, the rest of us can happily explore them. Part of Perivale Park is its golf course and that is where we went for our exercise today. And found it was snowing!
One aspect of the modern world is accelerating its natural time scales. So when a new pond is created by moving large amounts of earth, the pond is initially largely devoid of any life, whether plants or invertebrate. But a solution is to hand: plant mats. Grown in a nursery and implanted with plants, these mats 1m by 2m in size, can be dropped into the pond for hey presto almost instant pond life!
Weeding remains the central activity for us in Perivale park itself. But we have noticed a star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum) emerging in the bulb glade where they were planted 18 months or so ago. Unlike the Fritillaries, this one has not (yet) emerged in abundance. But it is doing better than the wood anemonies which are so far elusive.
With the recent rains and abundant sun, the beneficiaries have been the “weeds” (which if they did not dominate so quickly can be appreciated for themselves). The four raised beds in the orchard garden area of Perivale Park needed some attention! Three of the beds are planted; one with winter garlic, another with flowering and about to seed winter brassicas and the third with a still germinating wildflower mix. But we still need gardeners to come along and plant/deplant/replant something there! Vegetables, herbs, flowers, anything you fancy!