Friday, 26 June 2015

Merit Turf, A Granular Insecticide Control For Chafer Grub

Today Joss, using the walkover spreader, applied a granular insecticide called 'Merit Turf' as a preventative measure to the quad lawn against the dreaded Chafer Grub. Best applied between May and July, prior to the eggs hatching, the insecticide will protect the grass from the grubs as they hatch and feed on the roots. For an example of the damage that can be caused refer to the blog entry for the 1st June 2011 'Chafer Grub', this image is not what Joss wants to see on the quad lawn! With no substantial amount of rainfall due over the next 24 hours the watering system was switched on to wash the granules in immediately.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Lavender In The Sainsbury Building Planters

February 11th 2015

Four Months On

 Four months ago the team completed the project to bring the large planters on the Sainsbury Building's balconies back in to use, see blog entries 2nd February 'Rope, Two Trugs And Five Tonnes Of Soil', 4th February 'Reattaching Taps, Soaker Hose And Weed Suppressing Membrane' and 11th February '3 Planters, 69 Lavender Plants And A Tonne Of Gravel'. As can be seen from the photographs the project is a success, the lavender have grown well in the planters and are now in flower, their wonderful perfume attracting many insects.

February 11th 2015

Four Months On

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

The Success And Failures Of The College Waterfowl

The Abandoned Swan nest
There have been success and failures within the waterfowl community on the college lake this year. Starting with the bad news, a number of mallards had broods of ducklings but none survived for more than 48 hours, the Moorhen chicks didn't survive much longer. The biggest disappointment though was finally realised this week, no cygnets again, the swans abandoned their nest and their 3 eggs today after 9 weeks incubating them. This is the third year that their eggs have not hatched but, as with last year, the swans have remained on the lake.

5 Weeks Old
The good news, the success of the Canada Geese in the raising of their two goslings. At 5 weeks old the flight feathers are growing from the blue quills, see above photo.

6 Weeks Old
At 6 weeks old the white undertail, black head and neck with the white chinstrap are all visible, the goslings looking more and more like their parents.

7 Weeks Old
Today, at 7 weeks old the fluffy down has almost all gone and their flight feathers continue to grow and will, by 9-10 weeks old look like their parents feathers, see below for photo. 

Adult Canada Goose Flight Feathers
Two contrasting stories, maybe next year it will be the swans turn for success.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Preparing The Rose Garden For The Staff Garden Party

The team spent the day working together in the Provost's rose garden preparing it for the evening's event, The Staff Garden Party. The grass was mown and edged, the rose beds weeded and the many hundreds of dead heads on the roses were removed. At the end of the working day the garden was ready for the staff and Fellows to enjoy themselves in the beautiful garden. 

Friday, 19 June 2015

Painting The Grass Green

Four weeks ago Joss applied the first treatment of a growth regulator to the grass on the banks, see blog entry 22nd May 'Applying A Liquid Grass Growth Regulator And Fertiliser'. The second treatment was applied today but this time with the green dye spray pattern indicator, 'Eye SPI', added to the chemical mix, this raised a question from passers by, "Why are you painting the grass green?". It did look like this was what he was doing, but the dye was used to show Joss exactly where he had sprayed so that no areas were missed and not as it looked, to make the grass look a richer green! The dye only lasted 24 hours, he will repeat this process in four weeks time, 17th July.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Preparing For The Annual Jericho Run

The team spent the day preparing the paths around the sports ground for the 5th annual Jericho Run which takes place this Sunday, 21st June. Both the 10k adult run and the 1 mile children's run will bring the runners through the college grounds, about 400 adults and 275 children running for charity. 

The paths were raked, over hanging shrubs cut back and overgrown borders strimmed down. Over the next few days Heras temporary fencing and wooden fence posts with a rope line will be erected to guide the runners safely through the college. This is the third year the grounds have been used as part of the course for this family event.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Dracunculus vulgaris (Dragon Arum)

Beneath the large canopy of the Indian Bean Tree, Catalpa speciosa, a rather unusual flower has appeared. Produced by the Dragon arum, Dracunculus vulgaris, it's not only the flower that catches your attention but the smell! There is no sweet smelling fragrance coming from this inflorescence but a the foul smell of rotting meat that attracts the flies to pollinate it. A wonderfully unique plant to see in the gardens, but you have to be quick as the flowers only last a day. Below is a short video for you to witness this unusual spectacle, just not the smell.