Thursday, 25 February 2010

Snowdrop Day

This is the time of year when the Galanthophiles, an enthusiastic collector of snowdrops, get very excited by the tiny white flowers that have emerged from the earth beneath. Today, three students, Hannah, Hannah and Kate joined the team and helped us move hundreds of snowdrops from the path to the Canal Building to the Nuffield Lawn. Although it is slightly too early to move the snowdrops, the best time is when they have finished flowering and still in leaf, known as 'in the green', we have still moved a large quantity to their new home creating an even better display for years to come.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Rosa banksiae 'Lutea'

The last of the climbing roses was given a light cut today rather than a hard prune, which we have done to all our other climbing roses. Rosa banksiae 'Lutea' is unlike our other climbing roses as it flowers on last years growth, so to cut it now would remove all the flowers. (Now we know why we have had very few flowers over the last two years.) It is a very vigorous, thornless, climber that is best trained on a fence or wall. It has small, double, pale yellow flowers which are slightly fragrant and will flower through May, giving a beautiful display with the blue Wisteria on the adjacent walls. We will now be pruning this rose in June, but before that, we still have all the fruit trees in the orchard and roses in the Provost's Garden to prune.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Gloucester House

Over the last few weeks the gardening team have been busy tidying up the last few remaining gardens that were not done before the Xmas break. The last area is the Mediterranean garden in front of the Gloucester House buildings, which was left due to the number of seed heads on the grasses, Calamagrostis 'Karl Foester', Deschampsia caespitosa 'Morning Dew' and other plants, Echinacea purpurea, Eringium pandanifolium, Eringium bourghatii and Dierama pulcherrimum. Under the recent snow fall theseed heads have now collapsed, leaving a very messy area in need of a thorough tidy.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Same Time Next Year

For those of you who have following our blog since its beginning last year, you may remember the blog entry 'Where Are They?' dated the 16th February. Back then two very happy twitchers, Ali and Mickey, were over joyed at the sighting of four female and one male Goosander. Well, they are back, the same week as last year, but only two on this occasion, one male and one female. These birds are only seen in the south in the winter so lets make the most of them. See you same time next year, Goosander?

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

More Bricks

Back on the 3rd February, Kieron and his assistants started to lay stone setts around the newly dug winter border and the Lindbury borders. Due to rain, sleet and snow this job has been interrupted and now, after laying approximately 80 meters of stone setts, the job is complete.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Au Revoir Mickey

It is with a heavy heart that I have to write this next entry. Our colleague and friend, Mickey alias Bodge It, has had to leave our team due to having worn his knees out. The daily walking around his greenhouse and the college grounds has taken its toll on our mature friend. We are all very sad to see him go as he was the first in and the coffee is no longer ready for when the rest of the team arrive. His humour and moaning will be greatly missed, we will miss you Mickey.

Congratulations Josh

Congratulations to Josh, our grass guru, and his wife, Jade, on the birth of their first child, a baby boy, Jacob Daniel, born on Friday 12th February weighing 6lb 11oz.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Winter Versus Spring

The mornings and evenings are getting lighter, the Magpies are starting to make their nests, the birds are choosing their mates and the spring flowers are starting to open, but, the winter snow keeps falling. There seems to be a battle between the seasons at the moment, with winter refusing to let go of its grip on our surroundings. What the team are all holding on to is the knowledge that spring will eventually win this battle and that every day brings it closer.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

11 Tonnes of Shingle

As mentioned in the last blog entry, we were waiting for the arrival of some shingle to complete the repairs to the broadwalk. Well, as you can see from the photo, at ten o'clock this morning, 11 tonnes of shingle arrived.

Throughout the day the shingle was transported from the Wolfsen Gate area to the broadwalk and unloaded in piles for it to be distributed.

Using just rakes and shovels the team spent the day moving the shingle over the broadwalk and also had time to touch up a small area behind the hebaceous border.
Dispite the weather trying its best to hamper the best efforts of the team, the work continued throughout the day and all 11 tonnes were successfully laid.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Broadwalk Repair

Over the winter months, the snow and the rain have caused an area of the Brodwalk to continually flood. Today Ady, Josh, Simon, Ali and Graham set about repairing the area by adding a new layer of hoggin to the path.

First, Simon broke up the old path using the grap on the front of the New Holland tractor, then he and Graham loaded the trailor with the hoggin and transported it to the area of the Broadwalk needing the new surface.
Ady, Josh and Ali spent the day shovelling the hoggin over the broken up path and raking it to recreate the camber of the original path in order to improve the drainage and prevent future flooding.

Once all the hoggin had been levelled, Ady, and then Graham, used the wacker plate to compress the hoggin and they now await the delivery of shingle to cover the broadwalk and restore it to its former glory.

Friday, 5 February 2010


As the snow falling from the sky keeps trying to remind us that the winter has not passed, signs from the earth below are telling us that spring is on the way. The Daffodils, Snowdrops, Crocus and Aconites are all emerging from below our feet telling us that it won't be long before this long, cold winter is over. On a day like today, when the temperature reaches ten degrees and the Snowdrop flowers seem to open before our eyes, it won't be long now, will it?

Thursday, 4 February 2010

On A Wet Day

One of the many questions the gardeners get asked at this time of year is 'What do you do when it is raining?' Well, apart from tidying our tea shed and tool sheds, cleaning our tools and maintaining our machinery, there is also washing the flower pots.
Today we were joined by two students, Alex and Charlotte, who helped us wash our pots. Using hot water and Fairy Liquid, the pots and seed trays are now clean and ready for us to use next month, when we start to sow the many hundreds of seeds we have ordered for our summer bedding display.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Brick by Brick

Back on the 19th January, blog entry 'We Did Well Today', I wrote about the start of a new Winter border. The border has now been dug over and leaf mould added to improve the structure of the soil, the next step is to edge the border with square stone setts.
Graham mixes the sand and cement whilst Kieron and Simon start to lay the stones. Over the next few days, providing the rain and snow hold off, the border will be edged ready for the next step of planting.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Tidying The Bottom Of The Provost's

Although this area is out of sight from visitors and students of Worcester College it still needs to be kept tidy. The area is at the bottom of the provost's garden, behind a number of gates, adjacent to the lake. The team, armed with, what seemed like, every tool from the tool sheds, spent the day tidying the area removing ivy from the trees, leaves from the path, cutting back over hanging branches and giving the whole area a spring clean. Over the next few months the Daffodils will bloom next to the path followed by the Blue Bells in May.