Herbaceous plants

In the old parks, the woody species exert their full influence on reducing the open, light, sunny spaces. This encourages the opportunities for woodland edge and fringe species, but diminishes the chances for the lovers of full sun and light. Their habitats decrease in size and become scarcer. All this has an influence on the flowering times and abundance within the different parts of the park. Shade inhabitants are usually spring flowering species. Under the trees and shrubs, a festive explosion of flowers and colour takes place over a relatively short period. During the rest of the year, the atmosphere is subdued and sober, shades of green and foliage and trunk shapes determine the image. The decline in the sun-loving species limits the abundance of summer flowering species, so characteristic for the younger heemparks. This is probably why, on the whole, visitors find the atmosphere of older parks more sedate, and far less colourful. For that reason, it is important to keep monitoring developments continuously, deliberating time and again if one has to intervene in order to maintain a balance between sun and shade vegetation. Sometimes deliberate non-intervention may be the right solution, allowing one vegetation type to gradually transform into the next. On other occasions, one will have to decide whether a more drastic intervention is called for in order not to lose too much of the park’s attractive qualities.