Saturday, 28 February 2009

The Great Apple Prune Begins

Having benefited from the experience of the master prunner, Chris, from Waterperry
Gardens, the Apple prunning begins in earnest. Now that March is fast approaching the

great Apple prune begins. Josh and Simon are first to take up the baton and begin with the older trees, within a week, the entire team will join in.

From Fine Wine to Luxury Accommodation

With moral support and guidance from Bodge it (Mick), Scarper (Ali) continues with her mission to convert a wooden wine box of the finest French Blanc to luxury accommodation for a family of Blue Tits. After a month of frustration, hammer hit hands and covered in Forest Green paint, the box is complete. She awaits for the first family to move in!

The Oak Pots

The final resting place for the beautiful Oak pots has now been decided upon.
Next job, to move the 6 tonnes of compost
from its delivery area to the pots. Ady and
Graham set to the task, whilst Ali and Lucy
bring the architectual planting over from the

It will provide the
backbone to all the
additional planting
that will be added
to them to
create the
Summer and
Winter bedding

A Fortnight At Worcester!

The First Seedlings appear!

Measuring for the new bed at Gloucester HouseThe finished result!

Friday, 20 February 2009

The Snowdrop

Words of this poem, found on the internet, conveying the wonderful sight of
all the snowdrops emerging around the Worcester College grounds.

The Snowdrop
by Nessie Gell
A fresh new snowdrop greeted me
Amongst the leaves beneath the tree
That delicate and tiny flower
Braves frost and raid and snowy shower

My garden soon will bloom again
In summer sunshine, gentle rain
But none can bring such joy to me
As that tiny snowdrop ‘neath the tree.

Bodge It and Scarper

How do we stop
the Squirrels
from eating all
the Peaches this
year? Answer:
Send for Bodge It
& Scarper! (Alias
Mick & Flossy)
They set about
putting up chicken
wire over the four
windows, managed
one, ran out of wire
and ran off to make
a bird box instead.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Where Are They?

The phone rang,
10:20, the excited
voice of Graham on
the other end
"The Goosanders
are back!"
Flossy and Mick
grap the binos and
camera, and head
down to the lake,
seeing them
was the only
thing on their minds.
Then, there they were,
four females and one
male, at last!
Two very happy Twitchers.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Fields of Gold

After two weeks of white the colour is returning to the gardens. First to show their heads are the Winter Aconites, Eranthis hyemalis their golden sunshine yellow washing away our Winter blues. Resilient to all the frost and snowfall, they are brightening up the greyest of days, warming up the senses in the move towards Spring. They are creating beautiful carpets of golden yellow under the trees of the Nuffield Lawn, adding splashes of colour on the now returning lawn green. Spikes of new growth are emerging from below, watch out, the Snowdrops and Narcissi are coming!

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

What Bamboo...Awop Bop aloo Bop Alot of Bamboo !

Hear , as we can see , the now very rare sight of Gardeners in their natural habitat, getting ready to nest for the night. The nest, is skillfully constructed from old bamboo, using techniques handed down through the generations. The head Gardener, or Simon, as we shall call him, can be seen, leading the other two under-gardeners a.k.a Mick and Josh, who incidentally are from the rare ' Big Nose ' tribe, in a ritual back straining and hernia inducing pulling of the aforementioned Bamboo. And so, it is time to leave this scene of Male bonding, so they can settle down, safe in the knowledge that soon, Graham will join them bearing steaming hot tea and maybe a Rich tea biscuit, for , it has been a Very long Day....

Monday, 9 February 2009

We'll Get There In The End...

Slow start to the day for me (Lulabelle) as I missed the bloody train, damn thing was in the station and waiting but had locked the doors and the miserable git of a stationmaster/bloke would not let me on!!! into work eventually, and the first task of the day was to work with Flossy to put up some brackets for ladder storage, a nice simple job to get us started...little did we know that it would take us up to lunchtime to complete the task! Spent the morning looking for screwdrivers and drillbits until Simon very kindly pointed us in the right direction. We finally got the ladder up in position nicely, thanks to Ady who helped with a bit of manpower to get the damn screws in when the electric one failed!!

After lunch we waited around in the drizzle and mizzle for a delivery of some oak planters to go in the Provost's Yard, and they were worth the wait!! Fantastic range of three sizes, some big enough to be able to keep Koy Carp in them, iI jest ye not! They are going to look sooooo good when we plant them up for summer.
Ali looks pleased anyway!
That was the highlight of the day to be honest, except of course for Simon's sculpture work with a chainsaw on a wizened twisted tree stump by the lake. While we were there marvelling at the artistry, I spotted our little fledgling duckies waddling by... (not so little now!)

Our little waddling friends, originally 12 but now 10 in all, including: Tufty, Crispy, Tiny & Jemima.

And Henry Too...

Another important member of the gardening team is Henry, Simon's dog.
Named after the ex Arsenal number 14, Thierry Henry, he also showed off
his snow ball skills in Thursdays snow. He accompanies him to work everyday,
and had just as much fun in the snow as we did. He keeps Josh's piece of the sofa warm for him and, on the odd occassion, even
eaten his lunch for him.
Very partial to yoghurt and apple
cores and never turns down a dog buscuit from Flossy.

Friday, 6 February 2009

When The Work Is Done......

Having managed to get into work yesterday, Thursday, now snowed in at home blogging, reflecting on the fun the Worcester College gardeners had clearing and salting the paths!

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Snow hits Worcester Big time !

Thursday 7am. I wake after a rather bad nights sleep, look out the window to see snow. Lots of snow. In fact bloody loads of the stuff. A lesser man would have panicked. But I am now half way through season two of Ice Road Truckers so I consider myself experienced in all matters snow and ice. I trudge to work slowly contemplating who might be in to join me in clearing the paths of the dreaded white stuff. Of course the old war hero Ady would be in, and maybe Smudge as he has a big 4x4 but as for the others there was little hope as they live in the sticks. But to my suprise I am greeted with a friendly hello from Mickey. From around the corner Ady appears and then Flossy and Neil pull into the car park. What I didn't bargain for was the old bulldog spirit kicking in and over the next few minutes all bar Lucy (who is at college) and Graham turn up. We set to clearing and to my suprise reinforcements arrive in the shape of the maintenance team. The job was done in record time and we even had time for a photo shoot and a bundle in the snow.

So to all my courageous colleagues, I salute you for your hard work and extreme efforts today.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

' Of Squirrel's and Men '

Today was cold, but sunny, a good day for digging. With that in mind, Ady, Graham, Lulubelle and me ( Mickey ) dug over the Allotment come Nursery area, all under the watchful eyes of two Robin's who leapt on every morsal we overturned.

Later i helped Simon who was using the New Holland tractor to move an old leaf heap, muddy and smelly work, but a good late winter job. On the way back to the tea hut, we stopped at the Porter's lodge to collect a delivery of tool's. Much anticipation ensued, as we unwrapped and revealed a sledge hammer and a bench vice, Smudge will have to be physically restrained when he see's these ( He's our resident Handyman and tool fiend ) The day drew to a close as usual in the tea hut ,with all of us changing out of our muddy boots, whilst discussing the relative merit's of stuffed Squirrel's ! It had been a very long day.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Hey Mr Tambourine Man...

Quite a busy day today; Smudge, Flossy & I (Lulabelle) were to build the new staging in the peach glasshouse for all our lovely, lovingly grown plants to sit upon (we're running out of room in the main glasshouse!).

'Before' shot

We started off by scrounging some bits of wood off of maintance, which was just the job, except for all the bird crap on it which I began to rub off with a wire brush. Nature Note: While doing this I spotted two herons in flight circling and calling to each other, quite a sight. Anyway, the bird shit was not coming off easily so Flossy finally had to pressure wash it, as I had to toddle off to my staff funds commitee meeting thingie.

And a bloody good job she did at that. I came back from the meeting and unscrewed some old bits of wood off of the glasshouse and cut down a holm oak (Quercus ilex) seedling which had been bugging me ever since I started working here. Lunch swiftly followed, by which time we'd made good progress. We got back to work, with Floss & I measuring and sawing the slats of wood for the staging to the magic number: 199! We were three bits short in the end however, and even a trek to the New Holland shed to the woodstore could provide no alternative, much to Josh & Mickey's dismay. We made it in the end though, thanks to Smudge's quick thinking and are now very proud of our joint work effort!

Us very proud and smiling!

Monday, 2 February 2009

Walking along Richmond road, after having salted various locations in Oxford, we happened upon Anton Oliver, the ex New Zealand All Black and alumni of Worcester College, Oh and Top Bloke...Josh and myself engaged him on the current form of the " Blues " for whom he plays., We were engrossed by his analysis of how he reads the game, when, it was at this time that Smudge decided to Launch a fearsome snowball at us, which was heading at a rate of knots towards Anton . Fortunately it missed his head and hit mine ! Phew ! that was close....Imagine the headline in the Oxford news, if it hit him : " Ex All Black Legend felled by snowball , Gardener to appear at Oxford Crown Court, and at No. 2 for tonights game at Iffley Road !

Oh The Weather Outside Is Frightful...

...but the fire is so delightful, and while there's no place to go...let it snow let it snow let it snow!!!
Rather cold chilly day warmed up rather by a few spontanious snowball fights, livening things up somewhat whilst sprinkling rock salt about the place.