The orchard garden was originally planted with four rectangular flower beds surrounding the avenue of Crab apple trees, with four larger almost square wild flower and spring bulb meadows (parched yellow below). Last year those meadows put on a fantastic display of flax. Now, a year on all these areas have all evolved.
Well, its an odd year this year. In one meadow, sunflowers are making a rather late appearance, whilst in the adjacent orchard, new fruit has recently set on the trees as if it were April. The fruit looks abundant, but whether it will ripen is touch and go.
Here is a guest article by Carmel, who has been out and about in the park.
The park has changed so much in the last 24 hours.
A few days ago I noted that many of the fruit trees in the park orchard were putting out new leaf buds. Well, what happens next? New flower buds!
Today Neil Anderson gave a group of 21 of us a masterclass in nature observation. Thanks also to Sean McCormack of the Ealing Wildlife group for organising!
The Green Flag award scheme aspires to Raising the standard of Parks and Green Spaces and is the International mark of quality. Earlier this year its judges visited Perivale Park, and we walked them around, showing the various points of interest. Now the judging is complete and we are delighted to announce that the coveted Green Flag has been awarded to the park. Thanks to everyone who made this possible, but especially to all the folks at Ealing Parks who pulled out all the stops this year for us!
A small but enthusiastic band of gardeners tidied up the orchard a little bit this last Sunday. After the copious mulching of the area last year (in preparation for the London in Bloom judging!), the ground cover of weeds was far less than a year ago.
The seeder has visited the park flower meadow, after having done Horsenden meadows and Cayton green park.
The last addition to the orchard area was the planting of roses about two years ago. It been a good year for roses in general and the orchard roses have really grown and flowered this year, with only minimal pruning last year.
On Jubilee day, June 2, 2022, we capture the park with the new Walnut tree planted by Ealing May Councillor Munir Ahmed in March as a contribution to the Queen’s Green Canopy. It is looking very healthy indeed!
The oak processionary moth can be a scourge of parks with lots of oak trees. And Perivale park has quite a few mature specimens. Almost three years ago we highlighted what can happen when a tree becomes infested. So it was good to see that the parks department continues to regularly spray the trees to avoid any resurgence.
I show two photos set to the friends by Ros, asking what caterpillar they are. The photos were taken in the park near Costons bridge.
There are some sights you simply are not going to capture in an urban park in London. So to see these you will have to go a little further afield – to Wakehurst or “Kew gardens in the country”, one of our “guest” park appearances here.
Foxes are now very much part of the urban park and garden scene. Like the bats we went out to see last week, they are best seen at dusk, when the cubs are brought out to frolic by their mum. So it was that we captured this scene of (six?) cubs playing in a local garden.
Occasionally other parks in London make a guest appearance here. In April, none can beat the display of sheer exuberant colour that the Isabella plantation puts on. After visiting, you just want to go a lie down in a darkened room to recover.
Organised by Paul and the Ealing Wildlife group, a group of twelve intrepid bat watchers set off into Perivale park at dusk. Bristling with sensitive bat detecting equipment, which reduces the sounds the bats make from ~45 KHz down to human-audible form, we first aimed for the pond areas. There insects fly at night and the bats hunt them.
There is a national fruitwatch under way, looking out for flowering times of fruit trees across the country. So here are a few sent to Fruitwatch from our orchard garden, at the peak time for the avenue of ten Crab Apple (Mallus, Red Sentinel) trees.
Out and about today (very strange weather, one minute blue skies and sunny, the next driving wind and snow), we spotted a wonderful marsh marigold. There will be many more to come, but this one is the first large one seen this year.
Last December, volunteers planted bulbs in the orchard area, including the easily accessible and diggable raised beds. Here is the result.
One criticism often levelled at the amenities in the park is that there is no information about them! Well that is about to change. The first phase is the refresh of the notice board next to the Golf pavillion. Its been a few years since anything new was put there, but take a look at it now!
With events in the world as they are, its good to go out and have at least some cheer. And since its daffodil time, I thought I would try the cheer by showing them.
Perivale park is surrounded by blackthorn and hawthorne bushes/trees. One particular corner on the Gurnell-Greenford greenway along the river Brent is always one of the first to flower. These are also a highly scented varieties and as one walks along the path, both senses detect the arrival of spring.
As it passes through the southern edge of Perivale park, many trees overhang the river Brent. Occasionally one of these is felled by strong winds and there it forms a barrier to all the rubbish that is brought down the river from the Welsh Harp and the tributaries to the Brent.. On this occasion, the rubbish has accumulated to the extent that almost the entire surface of the river has been blocked by the stuff. Caused perhaps in part by the large polystyrene blocks that are also floating on the surface.
If you happen to visit Greenford town centre on a Saturday, do pop in to see if anyone is working at the close by Costons Nature Reserve. There it was that I met Sean today, who showed me some of the new additions that have recently appeared.
Several blogs here cover Horsenden Hill, including its magnificent west meadow. It is an ecologically unique and precious wildlife resource in west London. So the idea of up to 15,000 people entering the meadow to have a music festival does not bear thinking about.
The Bulbs for London project, together with Richard Spencer-Smith, have come up trumps with two large boxes of spring bulbs delivered on Tuesday. At very short notice, I managed to persuade two members of the “Red Green” park group to come along and help us plant some of them on the Wednesday.