Tuesday, 30 November 2010

November Snow

As expected the snow has finally arrived in Oxford, so the team set about making the college paths safe for its staff and students.

Armed with shovels, brooms and wheelbarrows of rock salt, the team work their way around the college clearing away the snow from the steps and paths, then apply the rock salt to stop it refreezing over night.

Once this work is completed, they move to a sheltered area of the college that has not seen too much snow, and continue to clear the leaves away, another good job to keep them warm in the snowy conditions.

Friday, 26 November 2010

How Do You Keep Warm?

A question the team are often asked in this cold weather is "How do you keep warm?" Well, apart from the increased number of layers we are all currently wearing, the soup supping at break and lunch time, the answer is keep moving!
Today Simon, armed with his chainsaw, Graham, Joe and Ali, armed with axe, spend the morning chopping up wood for the college fire places. Within ten minutes of starting they have worked up a sweat and the excess layers are removed, no need for soup today.

Another job to keep us warm, if only from the steam emitted from the heap, is to volunteer to work on the compost heaps. The New Holland, with its grab, is used for this job, mixing leaves, grass, shredded office paper and herbaceous material together. Due to the recent leaf fall and the cutting back of the herbaceous border, the heaps around the college have fallen out of the confines of their boards and need pushing back and mixing.

Once the work on the heap is finished, the area is swept and is ready for the next lot of material to be added.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Bitterly Cold

The coldest November in 17 years, all the team can agree with that fact especially today! Bitterly cold outside, we started the day in the coldest part of the college, the border in front of the cottages. Simon, Graham, Joe and Ali worked together to cut it down and mulch it, then turned their attention to the border at the bottom of the quad.
Also doing their best to keep warm, Ady and Joss spend the day mulching, completing the herbaceous border and then moving on to the Provost's Rose Garden, where a few hundred tulip bulbs were planted amongst the roses last week, 'China Pink' and 'National Velvet', lily flowered pink and deep crimson respectively.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Project Tulip

Over the last few days the team have been working together on the herbaceous border, cutting down all the tired plant material and weeding it.
If you were following the blog last November you may remember the planting of 300-400 tulip bulbs, well, we have now planted another 300 completing our project. Last year we planted the colours white, orange and red to mimic the summer display, well, we have now planted the two remaining colours, pink and purple, so next May, the border will be full of tulips.
Not content with 300 bulbs in this border, whilst Ady and Joss added a mulch, Graham and Ali planted 100 'Abu Hassan' tulip bulbs, goblet shaped with rich red flowers margined with golden yellow, in the corner border, see blog entry 29th October 'Hot Colours for Winter'

Friday, 19 November 2010

Ship Shape and Bristol Fashion

For the last three days the gardening team have been focusing all their efforts on the Linbury Building and the surrounding areas, the reason being, the visit of Lord Sainsbury.
Many of the overhanging branches have been cut back and, with the help of Matt and Dwayne from the maintenance team, all the leaves removed from the roof. Matt and Dwayne also then spent time power washing all the grime from the paving area directly outside the building as well as the cobwebs and dirt from the eaves.

New shingle was added to edge the paving and the tarmac paths swept clean once all the borders had been mulched. The lawn was then mown and edged, the new tropical bed cut down
and a mulch added, then the york stone path leading to the building hosed off to remove any dirt.
The finishing touch, two pots moved to the front of the building for Ali and Simon to create new displays. After three busy days the area was in first class order 'Ship Shape and Bristol Fashion'.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Too Deep

For the last month, Mondays have meant leaves and today was no exception, only this time on a large scale. Having spent the morning clearing The Broadwalk for, hopefully, the last time, luckily the Horse Chestnut leaves fell early, the team moved to the back of the Nuffield Lawn and the borders and paths that edge it. The mass of leaves were too deep and heavy for us to lift on forks and rakes, so the New Holland tractor and grab were brought into use for the first time this year.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Rakes, Blowers and Bags

It is not just within the college grounds that the gardening team have to clear the leaves. The team spent the morning clearing leaves from the garden of two properties, no ride on mowers this time. Rakes, blowers and bags were used to remove the leaves, 20 tonne bags filled and transported to the compost heaps.
The afternoon was spent clearing leaves from the Canal Building at the bottom of Nelson Street, two truck loads in all. The team, exhausted at the end of the day, but pleased with their achievement.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Apple and Pear Juice 2010

The weather has been very wet today and for most of the day the team have been doing their inside jobs. Joe spent the day labelling the Worcester College Apple and Pear Juice, with a few hours help from Kieron, Ali and Graham.
The first batch of this years juice will go on sale this Friday, the 12th of November, between 14:15-16:00 hours in the Head of Gardens office by the nursery/car park, price per bottle £3.75.

Friday, 5 November 2010

A Very Leafy Week

Enough said about the very leafy week, although we spent much of our time chasing leaves around the college the views were spectacular, enjoy!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Far Too Deep

The north easterly wind has been blowing all night and has continued through most of the morning bringing down even more leaves. For an unprecedented forth day in a row, the Nuffield Lawn has had to be mowed, only this time some of the leaves are just too deep to get through.

Whilst Joss continues to plough through the lighter covered areas, Simon, Ali, Ady and Joe get the blowers and rakes out to clear the other areas until all the leaves are cleared.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Border Work

The leaves are still falling at an alarming rate and, for the third day in a row, the Nuffield Lawn needs mowing. However, other jobs need to be done within the college, one being the cutting down of the herbaceous border.
Graham and Ali spend the day on the border cutting down the tired herbaceous plants and manage to finish half way down the first part of the border.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Terrace Repair

The terrace at the top of the quad has been gradually eroded over the years through the constant foot traffic and by the gardeners, brushing away the grass that settles there when mowing the banks. When it rains the erosion now creates areas of large puddles so needs to be repaired.
Simon, Ady, Graham, and Joe start the repair by breaking up the old path, then add a new layer of hoggin on top. They then rake it to create a slight slope towards the drain to eradicate the puddles, finally using a whacker plate to merge the two layers together.

Monday, 1 November 2010


As I mentioned on Friday, the team are in the middle of a battle against the leaves. The Nuffield Lawn and most of the college paths are covered again, so armed with rakes, blowers and ride on mowers we put up a united front in our challenge to clear them by the end of the day.
Below you will find two videos of Kieron mowing the lawn and how the mower dumps the leaves onto the compost heaps.