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!
News has reached us that Ealing Wildlife Group have reached their funding target to convert some abandoned allotments on the edge of the park into a new Nature Reserve (the allotments were abandoned due to propensity for flooding). Congratulations to them!
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.
Today we undertook a litter-picking exercise walk around the park, taking in the Greenway walk to Gurnell. We armed ourselves at the start with two litter pickers and (optimistically) just ONE collection bag.
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.
Well, Greenford is newly on the map. It now (i.e. 29 May, 2020) has the least used station in London! Well, let’s try to lose that record by saying why you would want to come to South Greenford, the station with this unenviable (and hopefully temporary) record. Continue reading “South Greenford – Least Used Station in London”
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?
The raised beds are located in the midst of the 24 orchard fruit trees. The first harvest they have produced has just been gathered (winter garlic). There are still some left to harvest if you want to help yourself!
The park friends group are putting up posters around the park. The first batch of twelve went up about a week ago and another 12 are being prepared.
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!
Today’s exercise was to perhaps the best known green area in Greenford/Perivale (after the park of course!); the heights of Horsenden Hill. The hill has a myriad of footpaths, some well trodden but many less so. We have visited often over the years but still manage to get lost!
Greenford Birch Wood is one of the smaller green areas northwest of Perivale Park, running alongside the A40 and where most of the drivers there have no idea it exists.
Just to the south of Perivale Park is Cuckoo Park, reached by a most magnificent avenue of chestnut trees (Cuckoo Avenue) by branching off south from the Greenford to Gurnell Greenway. The trees were planted as part of the development of the Cuckoo estate in the late 1930s. I was at the end of a Greenwayers’ litter picking last year, enjoying the traditional cup of tea and Richard’s biscuits, when a local resident (who was also a thespian and a Churchill impersonator), told me that the newly planted Cuckoo avenue was formally opened by Charlie Chaplin himself. Anyway, if you do need some exercise, go walk along this magnificant avenue; the chestnuts are now in full bloom. Delay and you will miss the flowering.
For a few years years now, Ealing Council has planted areas of the borough with seed mixes to create food for the insects and birds as well as a feast for human eyes. I have just been sent the planting areas for this year (thanks Brad!).
Purple is my favourite colour. I have a professional interest in it ,  and I give public talks on the theme. Greenford (in which ward Perivale Park actually sits in) is associated with the historic scientific revolution of the mid 1800s resulting in the birth of the synthetic chemical dyes industry. William Perkin discovered mauveine (aka purple) in 1856 and set up a factory on the banks of the Paddington branch of the Grand Union Canal near Greenford Green to manufacture it. So when Perivale Park turns into a profusion of purple, I cannot resist showing some photos.
- M. Sousa, M. Melo, A. Parola, P. Morris, H. Rzepa, and J. de Melo, "A Study in Mauve: Unveiling Perkin's Dye in Historic Samples", Chemistry - A European Journal, vol. 14, pp. 8507-8513, 2008. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/chem.200800718
- M.J. Plater, W.T.A. Harrison, and H.S. Rzepa, "Syntheses and Structures of Pseudo-Mauveine Picrate and 3-Phenylamino-5-(2-Methylphenyl)-7-Amino-8-Methylphenazinium Picrate Ethanol Mono-Solvate: The First Crystal Structures of a Mauveine Chromophore and a Synthetic Derivative", Journal of Chemical Research, vol. 39, pp. 711-718, 2015. http://dx.doi.org/10.3184/174751915X14474318419130
Horsenden Hill is the fifth green space surrounding Perivale Park. It comes in east and west sections and today we exercised in the western half (the eastern half involves rather more climbing).
More history, this time east of Perivale Park, towards Perivale and then to Pitshanger. The ancient parish church of Perivale is located along Perivale lane. One can almost imagine how it all looked 885 years ago!
Continuing our anticlockwise exercise-based circumnavigation of Perivale Park, we reach Northala fields to the west of the park. As per usual, at sunrise over the mounds.
Recent warm and sunny conditions have resulted in a profusion of insect life. Probably most noticeable amongst these have been butterflies and various bees. One of the most striking butterflies to be seen at the moment is the fairly large lemon-yellow male Brimstone that will have over-wintered as an adult, perhaps hidden amongst some ivy. There are some who say the name butterfly originated from this species as the butter-coloured fly, though others dispute this attractive notion.
Continue reading “Spring butterflies in Perivale Park”
As I remarked before, Perivale Park is surrounded on all sides by other green spaces. This time our daily and (very) early exercise walk took us west towards Northolt and Belvue Park. This area has a very long history, dating to medieval and Roman times. I will let the highly informative signs that you eventually come across speak for themselves. They are located near the old Northolt Manor, complete with moat and church. You would hardly think you were in London!