Monday, 21 December 2009

Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year.

It is the staff christmas party tonight, so I thought I should write this entry before rather than after.
We would like to thank you for all your kind comments about our blog and hope you rejoin us for another year of gardening at Worcester College from 4th January 2010
The gardening team would like to wish all their blog readers
" A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year."


With one and a half days left to the xmas shut down and temperatures plummeting to below zero, it is time to check that all the tractors have sufficient anti freeze within their coolant systems. The coolant, a mixture of antifreeze and water that runs through the engine, must be able to withstand temperatures well below freezing and as these machines will not be used over the next few weeks sufficient antifreeze to water ratio is needed to protect the engines. Ady and his team of other mechanically minded gardeners set about the task.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

The Rose Garden

Over the last two days the gardening team have been tidying up the Provost's Rose Garden, the last garden to be finished before the xmas break. As with all the previous gardens, the secateurs are put into action cutting down all the hebaceous plants, after which, all the leaves
are raked out from within the rose beds. Once cleared they are weeded and forked through to break up the soil, then the mulch is brought in and added to each bed.

Friday, 11 December 2009

A Fox and A Kingfisher

First let me say that I, Ali, did not take this photograph, I only wish I had. Today was a very special day, not just because Lucy had returned to work after a terrible cold, but because of the two wildlife encounters.
Graham and Ady had a face to face encounter with a fox when it came within inches of them as they were fixing a gate at the bottom of the Provost's Garden. The fox wanted to go through the open gate so they had to move out of his way and allow him to pass, he then went on to see what Ali and Ying were up to in the garden, before continuing his journey through to the Nuffield Lawn. WOW!
The reason for the picture of the Kingfisher is that this is the exact pose Lucy, Ali and Graham had the pleasure in witnessing today from the bridge overlooking the weir. For ten minutes the Kingfisher sat in a low lying shrub over hanging the waters edge with a fish in its mouth. A wildlife encounter none of us fortunate enough to be there will ever forget.

Thursday, 10 December 2009


As the gardeners have been working their way around the college grounds chopping down all the hebaceous material, Ady and Graham have been following in their foot steps with truck loads of mulch. Wherever the secateur holding gardeners have been the mulchers follow, moving in their shadows, like an oil slick, leaving behind them a trail of rich, dark black, nutritious mulch.

The Ruskin Building border could not escape the dark cloud that followed, the newly exposed soil having been uncovered by the removal of the plant material by the secateurs, was soon covered once again.

No corner of the college, that contained hebaceous material, would escape its fate as the two mulchers moved stealthily around the grounds searching for their next victim.

The Broadwalk would soon be covered in mulch unable to withstand the fate of all the borders that had come before it.

The Casson fell victim to this onslaught too and when the mulchers were running short of mulch, they turned to the pile of wood chip and used this to mulch the three large tree and shrub borders lining the Nuffield Lawn. They can only be stopped when the mulch runs out, will we all be under a pile of mulch before the year is out. Watch out Rose Garden, you are next!

Friday, 4 December 2009

Chop, Chop

Now that the hebaceous border has been cut down along with the four borders in the Casson Garden, also known as The Goldfish Bowl, due to its shape, the gardeners moved on to the Serpentine, this has also aquired its name due to its shape.
Joe and Ali were given the chopping task, so armed with their secatuers, which have hardly left their side in recent weeks, they started to cut down all the hebaceous material.

As they worked their away along the border, the box balls began to re emerge along with the young tips of the Mascari, which will, again, create the river of blue in the spring.

As darkness rapidly descended upon them, they managed to reach the half way point, a job that would have to be finished the next working day.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

I Saw Three Ships

"I saw three ships come sailing in"

As you wonder around the college gardens over the next few months you will start to see the snowdrops emerging. The autumn snowdrop, Galanthus reginae olgae, was seen back in late October and has now been followed by Galanthis plicatus 'Three Ships', which usally flowers before Christmas.

Apart from noticing 'Three Ships' in the garden this week, you may have also noticed 'Four Men Spiking', which is not a snowdrop variety, but four gardeners spiking the front entrance lawns. Having spiked the lawn earlier in the autumn, see blog entry 'Aeration' on the 8th October, Josh gathered three other gardeners, Ady, Graham and Joe, to help him spike with forks.