Friday, 26 June 2009

It's Too Darn Hot!

It's too darn hot! 30 degrees and not a cloud in the sky to hide the sun. The gardeners try their best to hide from it, but shade is scarce. The vegetable patch and heeling in area for spare plants need weeding and the box hedge need cutting.

At the end of the day, after a lot of water drinking, sun cream applying, sweating and hard work, our goal is achieved. Will someone please turn the thermostat down, it's too darn hot!

Mum's Lipstick & A Dragon

Plants of interest in the garden at the moment, to name but two, are the
Dahlia 'Mum's Lipstick' and the Dracunculus vugaris Dragon Arum or Voodoo Lily.
Mum's Lipstick can be seen in the newly planted oak planters by the Besse Building. She is a Semi Cactus Dahlia with very striking yellow and pink flower, not to be missed.
The rather more sinister looking Dragon Arum can be found in the small
tropical border next to the Nuffield Building. To survive, the Dragon Arum needs to attract carrion-eating pollinators, which means that in the breeding season it will smell of rotten meat for a few days. However, it doesn’t eat the insects, rather just uses them to transfer pollen.
I can testify that the odour it produces is terrible, having spent five minutes next to it to get this picture!

Tuesday, 23 June 2009


The main quadrangle lawn has been showing signs of a fungi known as Fusarium. The Fusarium fungus is a naturally occurring fungi, with the spores existing within the body of virtually all turf at all times. When climatic conditions are suitable the spores can become very active and result in the development of visible brown patches and mould.
Fusarium fungi can develop on all turf, however, it is more visible on grass areas mown to a lower height as in the quad lawn which is currently being mown to a height of 16mm. The Fusarium is most noticeable as patches of yellow-brown grass which do not hold dew in the mornings. Josh has to apply a fungicide treatment to the lawn using the walk over sprayer, the white dots are produced by a marker foam to guide him across the lawn, preventing over spraying. Hopefully the Fusarium will now remain under control.


June and July are the months for a major project within the college grounds, the trimming of all the hedges. The college grounds have a number of different hedges all requiring maintenance, Yew, Box, Privet and Beech. Simon, Kieron and Ady set about trimming the Privet hedge located in the car park whilst Lucy, Mick and Ali concentrate on the far smaller Box hedges in the Provosts garden. Hopefully, the end of July will see the end of all the trimming for another year.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009


June is the time for roses and the rose garden will now require weekly dead heading sessions to keep the magnificent display fresh. Mick, Ali and Lucy set about the task this week and spent a day dead heading the many hundred faded blooms.
The majority of the roses are shrub and old garden roses such as Rosa 'Tuscany Superb', Rosa 'William Lobb' and Rosa 'Ferdinand Pichard', all chosen for the wonderful scent and aroma.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Echo, Echo, Echo

Apart from the regular maintenance of the grounds;mowing, watering, edging and weeding, our main objective this week was to empty the greenhouse. As the greenhouse emptied Simon, Head of Gardens, kept walking into it and shouting HELLO and waiting for the echo. The greenhouse has not yet replied so we shall have to continue next week, once empty the greenhouse will speak when spoken too. If you empty her the echo will come!
Wednesday saw Simon and Allison, assisted by Graham, Ady and Mick, conduct a two hour tour of the gardens for 43 enthuisiastic gardeners from the East Anglain Garden Group. Apart from the usual unreliable British weather, the tour went very went and was very well received by all.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Totally Tropical

With temparatures soaring it seems only right to start work on the tropical border, but where to start. Decisions, decisions. Bananas, Phoenix Palms, Amicia, Cannas, Colocasia, where are they all going to go to give the best tropical impact?
The gardening team were joined by Arie and Neil, medical students who have finished their exams and volunteered to help us.
After a big effort by all, digging very large holes and lifting the huge bananas and specimen plants into place, the architectual spine of the display was finished. Now for the less strenuous job of filling in with the plants that will create the colour, Dahlias, Bulls Blood, Chard, Coleus, Marigolds, Tithonia and Verbena.
All watered in and here is the result, now for August/September for the spectacular display.