Dunorlan Park is springing to life!  I love prowling around with my hound, Doodle, at this time of year  – it is a voyage of discovery – each time we visit there is something new to see.

Snowdrops in Dunorlan Park by Diana LambSnowdrops, daffodils, fritillary, crocuses have been popping up all over the place and making a fine show at the main Pembury Road Entrance. The Rotary club donated 5000 purple crocus bulbs in aid of a polio charity which were planted in a swathe under a tree near the car park by volunteers and made a fine display – temporary signs were installed, not only to tell people about them, but also to ask dog walkers not to let their dogs trample all over them – crocuses being quite delicate flowers.

I am particularly entranced by our snowdrops, not only because they are arrive so early and are so pretty, but because we have some quite rare and special varieties planted here and there. These have been donated to the park from funds raised by Saturday morning piano recitals given by Patricia Jacobs, who is a retired concert pianist and founder member of the Friends of Dunorlan Park. Mind you – very few people know exactly where the special snowdrops are planted because we can’t advertise their locations otherwise they might be stolen by obsessive ‘galanthophiles’ !!

Witch Hazel in Dunorlan Park by Diana LambEarly flowering shrubs give much joy as well with sweet smelling yellow Witch Hazel by the upper pond, and near the little summerhouse by the lower pond a group of pink Daphne smelling gorgeous. These two ponds at either end of the central lake comprise the park’s aquatic habitat which is teeming with waterfowl (as well as fish).

At this time of year, when the sap is rising, there are all sorts of shenanigans going on as a prelude to nest building and egg laying on the islands in the lake and within the reedy margins of the ponds.

Daphne in Dunorlan Park by Diana LambThroughout the winter special trees are planted in the park. This year the majority were commemorative trees planted in memory of those who have been lost and who loved Dunorlan Park – two Monkey Puzzles, a Pecan nut, an English oak, common birch, sweet chestnut, a Strawberry tree, two Magnolia ‘Galaxy’, common beech and a flowering dogwood called Stella Pink have all been planted. And a horse chestnut will be planted near the Natural Play area to provide shade for visitors as well as ‘conkers’ in due course !

This blog has rather concentrated on flora (with a mention of fauna !) because that’s what gives me joy just now. Needless to say, there is much much more to give joy and delight in Dunorlan Park – watch this space!

With thanks to Diana Lamb from the Dunorlan Park Friends Group