Thursday, 11 October 2018

A Colour Scheme Of Orange And Purple For Spring 2019

5th July 2018

July, mid summer display

Pastel shades

Faded pastels, 10th October 2018

Earlier in the week the first of the display borders had its summer display removed and replaced with the plants and bulbs that will provide colour during the coming winter and spring. Today the team focused on the border at the far end of the quad removing the tired and faded summer plants.

Digging out the summer display

Ready for planting

To prepare the border for the winter-spring planting the perennial plants were cut down to ground level and the annual plants dug out, both were taken to the compost heap with the debris and leaves from the surface of the soil. Next it was forked through and weeded, then the soil was trodden down to removed the air pockets that had formed during the forking, and then it was levelled.

310 Wallflowers in the nursery

Waiting to be placed out for planting
In the nursery area the 310 wallflowers, Wallflower 'Sunset Orange', had been placed into trays for transporting across to the border. Upon arrival at the border the full trays were placed along the front in preparation for placing out. Once all the wallflowers were in their place on the border the planting began. To finish the border was given a light forking to remove the compaction from the many footprints made on the soil whilst planting the wallflowers, then the young plants were watered in. Tomorrow 140 Allium 'Purple Sensation' bulbs will be planted amongst the orange wallflowers, a colour scheme of orange and purple for spring 2019.    

Planting wallflowers

Planting wallflowers



Tuesday, 9 October 2018

A Spring Border Of Orange And Yellow

21st June 2018

The delay in the planting of the 'Border in the Corner', see blog entry 21st June 'Changing The Border And Container Displays For Summer 2018', means that after only 16 weeks it is already time for it to be changed as the winter fast approaches.

31st August 2018

Salvia fabrinacea ‘Victoria’

Cleome, Zinnia, Cosmos, Pennisetum and Amaranthus

Removing the summer display

To make way for this year's winter-spring plants all of the summer annuals were dug up and taken to the compost heap but not before the best of the flowers were cut for use as cut flowers. The porous pipe that had kept everything watered during the hot summer was lifted from the soil, curled up and put away in to storage.

Cut flowers

Forked through

Clearing all the plant debris from the soil the border is prepared for planting. Forked through and weeded the soil is trodden down to removed air pockets and then levelled.

Trodden down to removed air pockets

Placing out

The plants that will create the winter-spring display were placed out onto the soil, 80 Wallflower 'Sunset Primrose' and 230 Primula 'Husky Mixed Daffodil', and planted. Bulbs were then placed out and planted in amongst the plants, a mix of daffodil, 30 of Narcissus jonquilla 'Lieke', 'Martinette', 'Pipit', 'Sweetness' and 'Beautiful Eyes' (150 bulbs) and 30 Fritillaria Imperialis 'Aurora'.

Planting up

Narcissus jonquilla 'Lieke', 'Martinette', 'Pipit', 'Sweetness' and 'Beautiful Eyes'

Fritillaria imperialis 'Aurora' (Orange flowers)

The colour scheme for the border is based on the border the team created for the winter-spring 2016/17, see picture below, but rather than using wallflowers and tulips the orange and yellows will be provided by the primula, wallflower, narcissus and fritillaria.

April 2017

Once all the wallflowers and bulbs had been planted the soil was gently forked to break up the compaction made by the gardeners treading on the soil, then the border was given a thorough water.

Watering in

Thursday, 4 October 2018

A Drench Of 50 Million Nematodes

2 Packets of Nemasys L

The dreaded vine weevil has been mentioned in the blog on two previous occasions, see blog entry 27th July 2012 'Vine Weevil Damage' and 11th November 2009 'Vine Weevil'. The chosen method for treatment against this pest has been the use of a systemic insecticide, see blog entry 1st October 2013 'Root Drench Against Vine Weevil', but today this has changed. This insecticide contains the neonicotinoid thiacloprid which has been linked to the reduction in the honey bee immune system so a biological control, Nemasys L, containing the nematode Steinernema kraussei has been chosen to protect the plants against the weevil. It is not the fist time the team have used nematodes, five years ago they were used to treat the lawn in the Provost's garden for chafer grubs, see blog entry 7th November 2013 'Nemasys G', A Biological Treatment For Chafer Grubs'. Having calculated the application rate, the contents of the packet, 50 million nematodes, were mixed with the required amount of water and applied as a drench to the soil using watering cans. In the nursery the plants that are in pots have now been treated and another drench using the nematodes in the second packets will be applied over the next few weeks to treat the many display containers out in the gardens.  

 50 Million Nematodes

Friday, 28 September 2018

Labelling 750 Bottles Of 'Worcester College Apple & Pear Juice'

1 of 2 metal cages full of juice filled bottles

This year's fruit harvest from the college orchard have been pressed and the result, 750 bottles of 'Worcester College Apple & Pear Juice' that now need to be shrink band wrapped, labelled and boxed. 

Ready for shrink band wrapping and labelling

Preparing the boxes

Bottles waiting to be shrink wrapped

White shrink band wraps

Kieron, Peter and Ali spent the morning at Waterperry Gardens working together to process the bottles. First each bottle was placed into the heated shrink banding machine to heat seal a white shrink wrap band around the cap and neck. The banded bottles were placed into trays, loaded onto a small trolley and wheeled over to the labelling machine for the large label to be struck on to the front of the bottles. 

Into the heat

Trolley over to the labelling machine


Main front label going on to the bottle

Small 'Best Before' label

With the large label on the front of the bottle, a much smaller label, 'Best Before Dec 2018', was manually stuck on to the back of the bottle. Fifteen bottles were placed into each box and sealed shut with tape. The juice will be on sale to the students, staff and alumni during the last three weeks of the current Michaelmas term.

Labelling and ready for boxing

A full box of 15 bottles

Ready for storage

Thursday, 27 September 2018

Planting Snake's Head Fritillary In the Meadow

Snake's Head Fritillary in the meadow, 4th April 2017

5 x 100 bulbs and bulb planter

The planting of Snake's Head Fritillary in the meadow area at the far end of the Provost's garden began in 2015 and in subsequent years has continued with a total of 900 bulbs planted so far. Pleased with the results, see the top photograph, another 500 bulbs have been planted this morning. A long handled bulb planter was used to create the holes in the meadow, the steel head of the planter pushed down into the grass then lifted out with the plug of soil contained within it. Bulbs were placed into the bottom of the hole, a mix of between 1-5 bulbs, then another hole was made forcing the previous plug of soil out of the head. This plug of soil is then placed back into the other hole covering the bulbs, the team are looking forward to the display in the spring.

500 Snake's Head Fritillary Bulbs

2 in the hole

A plugged hole


Monday, 24 September 2018

No Rush This Year To Take Cuttings

Clean mist unit

Washed pots and clean, sterilised cutting knives

18th September, First day of cutting

The long range forecast for Oxford shows no signs of low overnight temperatures with the dreaded first frost so there has been no rush this year to take cuttings from the plants needed to create next year's container and border displays. The mist unit has been cleaned and a new layer of silver sand has been added to the base for the pots to stand on above the heated cable. The cutting knives have been cleaned and sterilised and the plastic pots washed in preparation for this day.
Out in the gardens this morning, healthy, non-flowering shoots were selected from some of the tender plants and placed in a shopping bag for safe transfer back to greenhouse for processing. Emptying the contents of the bag on to the recently cleaned work surface, each stem was cut beneath a leaf joint/node (nodal cut) leaving the cutting about 2-3 inches long. The leaves, just above the nodal cut, were cut off and the soft growing tip pinched off. When several cuttings had been prepared the base of each were dipped in to hormone rooting powder to cover the cuts, inserted around the inside of the rim of a small, shallow pot of seed compost, watered in and then placed in the mist unit. They will remain in the comfort of the mist unit until rooted.

The first cuttings in the mist unit

24th September, A full mist unit