Opening waterfowl views

DZG’s gardening team have been busy opening up views to the site’s waterfowl pool.

The pond, opposite the Discovery Centre, is currently home to a variety of birds, including fulvous whistling ducks, mandarin ducks, chestnut teals, ringed teals and red-crested pochards.

In a bid to encourage the grass growth, which the ducks enjoy feeding on, the team have felled an overgrown shrub on the bank.

Gardener Anthony Gwilt, said: “The shrub was a Portuguese laurel, that was over 30 years old and had become very overgrown.

“We’ve cut it down and will grass seed the bank, which will open up the visitor viewing opportunities to the pool, as well as returning it to the formal-looking area it was eight decades ago, when it housed flamingos and pelicans.”

All the felled branches were chipped and will be used by gardeners on flower bed areas in the coming weeks as they begin planting ahead of the Easter holidays.

Meanwhile contractors have also been maintaining some of the 40-acre wooded site’s large trees around the giraffe, orangutan and lion enclosures.

Head Gardener, Carl Stevens, said: “As part of our annual tree maintenance programme, we had to fell four elderly trees which had become diseased, while we also topped a few conifers.

“We had external tree surgeons on site, who scaled the trees on harnesses and we kept animals inside while the specialist work was carried out.

“We always replace felled trees as part of our sustainable planting programme and will soon be planting several native saplings on site.”

The team of in-house gardeners oversee tree management and carry out regular safety checks across the wooded hillside, which is also covered by a tree protection order.