Horticultural & Wildlife 2018

Wild Plants of Holland Park

Thursday, 19 July, 6.30-8pm

Do book for botanist, Dr Mark Spender's exploration of the park's wild plants and flowers. Where are they and what are they? Some flowers are very evident, like the cow parsley and snowdrops, and some are modest and well hidden, but Mark will find them. In an evening walk around the park we will learn how to identify different plants, and he will share some fascinating botanical facts. The Friends welcome this focus on wild plants, as a couple of much loved ones have been beaten into submission by too many feet and wheels, e.g. the Anemone blanda at the top of the Sun Trap lawn.

This event is sponsored by The Friends. Booking is through the Ecology Service rather than the Friends. To book, call 020 7938 8186 or e-mail ecology.centre@rbkc.gov.uk, It's free!

[July 2018]

Tree news

Tree removal and remedial work

During a recent tree survey in the park, several old trees were found to be declining and likely to become dangerous. The council is carrying out a programme of felling, or removal of potentially dangerous branches.

Red ChesnutsYou will have noticed the removal of a number of the Red Horse Chestnut trees that run in a line across the top of the sports field, and drastic pruning of the remainder. This hybrid species typically has a shorter life span than the more common Horse Chestnut and is prone to debilitating pests and diseases such as bleeding canker and a condition known as bud proliferation which eventually results in rot, making the tree more likely to snap. We are sorry to lose them, but it offers the opportunity for interesting new trees, chosen for their appropriateness to the site, to be planted next winter.

This work is an essential part of the long-term strategy, to ensure the park's trees are healthy and flourish, so that we leave a beautiful green landscape for generations to come.

Proactive tree health

Commonwealth CopseProactive treatment is better than dealing with declining trees. The Friends funded a tree health care programme for the second year running, which saw Bartlett Tree Experts de-compact soil around selected trees, and give each a comforting blanket of mulch. De-compacting helps the roots to grow and 'breathe', and the mulch feeds the roots: the equivalent of a person looking after their health by eating a nutritious diet. In December 2017, 15 trees in the Commonwealth Copse (the copse of trees at the bottom of the sports field right next to the Design Museum) were treated. Two spindly trees, which should never have been planted where they were, have been removed, and the remainder have been air-spaded and mulched. Bartletts told us we would notice the improved health, and indeed we could when we revisited the trees treated in 2016. The leaves of the big London Plane outside the Orangery, the Walnut near to it and the two Coral Ash trees on the Belvedere lawn all showed reduced signs of disease. The very rare Birch-leaved Pear near the Phillimore Walk entrance and the Headache tree near tennis courts 1 and 2 had noticeably flourishing crowns of leaves. All very satisfying.

420 saplings from The Woodland Trust

The Friends worked with the Ecology team to bid for a parcel of 420 native saplings, all free, as part of the Woodland Trust's campaign to 'see a UK rich in native woods and trees, for people and wildlife'.  We have been granted the trees, which will arrive in early March and be planted in the woodlands.

Champion trees in Holland Park

In our winter issue we told you of the visit from David Alderman, Director of the Tree Register of the British Isles (TROBI). The result is a list of Holland Park's champion trees, exceptional for size, age, historical association or rarity. The list is published on TROBI's website and we hope to tell you more in our summer newsletter.

Text and photos: Jennie Kettlewell

[Spring 2018]

Ecology Events Sponsored or Run by the Friends

Come and explore the natural world we are lucky enough to have in Holland Park. Many of the talks, walks and events organised by the Ecology team are sponsored by the Friends so that they can be free for participants. Experts will help us discover things in the park that we may not notice for ourselves.

Unless otherwise stated the meeting place is in the Ecology Centre near the Adventure Playground.

Sat 10 Mar    Moss Walk. Dr Alan Harrington. Meet in stable yard. Must book. 11am-1pm 
Thurs 15 Mar  Earthworm ecology talk. 6-7.30pm
Sat 24 Mar     Beginner's guide to birdwatching. 9-11.30am
Sat 28 Apr     Dawn chorus bird walk. Car park. 5-7am
Sat 28 Apr     Family bird song walk. Car park. 8-10am
Thurs 10 May  Spring bat walk. Bring a torch. 8.30-10pm
Thurs 24 May  Stag beetle talk. 6.30-8pm
Sat 26 May*   Summer tree walk. Dr Alan Harrington. Meet in stable yard. 11am-1pm
*(changed from 19 May, due to royal wedding)
Sat 23 June     Butterfly and moth walk. 10-11.30am
Thurs 28 June  Fox talk. 6.30-8pm
Thurs 19 July   Wild plants of Holland Park walk. 6.30-8pm

All the above events are free, but you do need to book on ecology.centre@rbkc.gov.uk or 020 7938 8186.

The full Ecology programme can be found on www.rbkc.gov.uk/ecology

[Spring 2018]