Easter at Coombe Wood Gardens

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATerence Meredith,  Gardener of the Year in 2013 and the team have excelled in their choice and variety of plants on display in the rockery this Easter. Primulas, Tulips, Pansies, Pink Buttons and even upside down tulips, Coombe Gardens has it all.

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If you are intrigued by the tulips that seem to have been planted upside down  I have covered these plants in a previous blog.

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upside-down tulips

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Happy Easter!

 

 

Tree down at Coombe Wood gardens

Storm Katie from last night brought down a fir-tree on the edge of Coombe Wood onto conduit lane near the car park. Fortunately nobody was passing by and no cars were damaged.

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Fallen fir-tree in conduit lane

The destructive power of the storm wrenched the base of the tree from the ground, causing large splinters of wood.

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Splintered tree trunk

The storm also brought down trees in Addington Hills and Heathfield as seen below.

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tree down in Addington Hills

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Fallen tree at heathfield

The wet weather can also make walking hazardous as  a woman walking in Heathfield slipped on a grass verge. Croydon Central Parks was nearby and offered tissues and sympathy. Fortunately  the lady was not hurt, only a muddy jacket and injured pride. The skid mark was evident on the ground, so please do take care while walking over wet grass.

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slippery grass

 

Winter garden at Coombe Woods

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Bedding plants including winter pansies at the entrance to the wood

The displays of flowers are always excellent at this wood at anytime of the year. The hardy perennials on display in the beds brought a vivid color to the garden.

I asked Terence Meredith, the resident gardener how the plants would cope with hard ground frosts that had been forecast in the coming week? He reassured me that their bedding plants would be fine and that although the daffodils looked delicate they often appeared early thanks to our milder winters.

cat among dafodils

cat among daffodils

One plant that does require protection from the frosts is the banana plant. Terence has built a wooden box about four-foot tall with a tarpaulin cover to ensure the plant grows steadily, so it can appear majestic when it takes its place in the summer garden.

Banana plant

Banana plant

Exploration of the wood showed that the camellias were in bloom, the bright pink leaves brightening up the wooded path.

camellias in bloom

camellias in bloom and potential for more

Upside Down Tulip

Upside Down Tulip

Upside Down Tulip

I recently spotted this unusual tulip in Coombe Wood Garden . How did the council contract gardeners  get the tulip to grow upside down? Did they have to plant the bulb upside down or turn it around once it had started growing. It looks like it has been ” slam dunked” on the basketball court. I wonder if you have any ideas?

I will have to check with Terence , gardener of the year in 2013 for the official explanation. In the meantime I hope you enjoy the picture. Just in case you might be thinking that I manipulated the image I have included another one with their more regular cousins.

Tulips two upside down

Tulips two upside down

Vote for your favourite park

Autumn Reds in Heathfield Gardens

autumn at heathfield

autumn at heathfield

If your garden is looking rather drab at the moment now the leaves have fallen from the bushes or trees or a lack of colour in the trees on your street; then I suggest you take a quick trip down to your local Croydon Central Park. These photographs were taken recently at Heathfield showing the beauty of nature mixing  autumn reds with the evergreens .

Striking reds at Heathfield

Striking reds at Heathfield

Striking reds at Heathfield

Striking reds at Heathfield

Continue reading

Squadron of Dragonflies at Heathfield

We were walking up the hill at Heathfield when were accompanied by a squadron of dragonflies. There were about six in all and they flew ahead of us and then held back until we caught them up. Again they flew ahead of us and waited for us to catch up.

I decided to find their home and on another visit to Heathfield I located one flying around the small pond as you can see in the picture. I would like to say that I used my DSLR camera on a wide aperture and a fast shutter speed , but I can’t.

dragonfly over small heathfield pond

dragonfly over small heathfield pond

I have a standard digital camera and I set it at 4x zoom its maximum setting!. The dragonfly was moving in a clockwise direction around the pond, so I waited until it arrived at 6 O’ Clock position and then snapped the picture. Unfortunately, the first few times I tried I totally missed the dragonfly. I  spent a full five minutes waiting for the dragonfly to fly into position and then got lucky with the shot.

Hope you enjoy the picture, they are certainly beautiful insects.

Gardener of the Year

Coombe Wood  is an ornamental park and it retained its Gold Award in small garden park category in the London in Bloom competition.

The gardens are quite spectacular and are immediately visible when you entered the park. The vibrant floral displays are regularly changed as Croydon council nurseries are located along the same lane . This means in the depths of winter there are still vibrant displays that would normally only be associated with the summer.

Terence Meredith gardener of the year 2013

Terence Meredith gardener of the year 2013

The resident gardener Terence Meredith has been voted gardener of the year in 2013 ( results for 2014 not yet available). Terence modestly told me that without his knowledge his council bosses nominated him for the award at same time as London in bloom competition. Terence always has a friendly word for the many visitors and kindly agreed to this “action photo ” while tending to the many flower beds at Coombe Woods.

Heathfield open day

The Heathfield open day took place on 20 -21st September 2014

Stalls were operated by conservation groups and the local branch of amnesty international . I was tempted to buy some of the plants on sale for my other half but our success at keeping them healthy afterwards is not very high so declined to make a purchase!.

We were given a guided tour of the orchards and the gentleman gave an interesting talk on the variety of old english apple trees they had planted. The original varieties dated back to time of King Henry VIII . The area at the back of Heathfield was laid to waste for many years before a band of volunteers approached the council to takeover this plot of land and eventually turned it into today’s ecology centre.

We enjoyed tasting the apples , my favourite being the Blenheim orange , yes this is really an apple tree! There were also the american mothers and the pippins trees.
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A number of ponds exists in the grounds populated by insects and water boatman. . The centre also has its own hives proving some delicious honey when in season. . A series of surface tunnels underneath the perimeter fence are an access route for the badgers and deer that frequent the area. A badger sett runs underground and at night the badgers appear near the picnic tables. No doubt helping themselves to a few goodies!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe saw the resident sheep led by Sam who is now four years old, but suffers from arthritis. Sadly the other sheep Wilf became ill suddenly and passed away at the grand old age of 14. The kindly farmer who originally provided the sheep immediately donated a new young sheep called Ben. He is still rather shy as he gets used to his new surroundings before meeting the public. The collection jar at the entrance to the centre was provided for donations to cover the cost of the recent vets bills in treating poor Wilf.

We enjoyed a cream tea and soft drinks afterwards and for a free event we all thought it was a good day out.

Well done to the volunteers as the ecology centre is well attended during its regular Sunday openings and is also used during the week by school visits particularly during the summer months. Before the summer break , four schools visited  in one week in July.