Tuesday, 28 September 2010

No 17 and Wild Flower Meadow

A renovation project, lead by Ady has been in progress over the last month. The garden at number 17, one of our outside properties, is being gradually cleared of all the overgrown shrubs, ivy, brambles, rockery and an old cement path and will, eventually, be reseeded and have a lovely lawn in their place.

In the orchard, Ali started work on her wildflower meadow project. An area of grass is cut to a very low level by Kieron, on the ride on mower, making it easier for Ali to then strim the area to reveal the bare earth. The area is then raked over to lightly disturb the soil, then seed collected from our other wildflower area near the Nuffield lawn, is scattered on top.

Monday, 27 September 2010

End of the Tomatoes

The tomatoes and cucumbers have finished producing fruit and the space in the glasshouse is needed for another purpose. Ali spent the morning ripping out all tired, green and whitefly covered plants and then removed all the weeds from the soil. The recently painted coldframe lids are moved to their winter storage area to keep them dry.
As the autumn approaches at an ever faster rate, Ady and Graham rake the leaves off the Broadwalk, a job that will become a regular task over the coming weeks.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Congratulations To The Head Gardener

Congratulations to Simon and his wife, Jenny, married today at 1.30 in the college chapel.
The sun shone on them and the gardens.

Friday, 24 September 2010

One More Day To Go

The florist arrived early in the morning and began to create some very spectacular displays for Simon's wedding, 2 pedestals for the college chapel's alter, 2 urns for outside the chapel and 45 table decorations for the hall.
Whilst the florist was hard at work in the greenhouse, the team continued to tidy every last inch of the college grounds. The paths were hoed and raked, lawns mowed and edged, flowers deadheaded, borders edged, weeded and titivated, cloisters, main drive and college front entrance swept. Only perfection for our boss, now all we need is mother nature to look upon the scene and leave it alone for just one more day, please!

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Wedding Preparations

At the beginning of the year the gardening team put a very special date on the 2010 year planner. The Head of Gardens, Simon's wedding day, the 25th September would be held in the college. For the last 3 weeks the team have been having a daily countdown, now we have 2 days to go and the team are focused.
Ali and Joe spend the afternoon cutting the flowers that have specially been grown and place them in buckets of water ready for the florists arrival tomorrow.
Graham puts his wet gear on and spends the day power washing the bridge until every last bit of dirt has gone.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010


Having thought the painting of the sheds had finished, Ady, Kieron and Graham build a new wooden cover over an old metal door on the machine/tool shed and then have to treat it with preservative, the sheds are now complete, the painting finished and the preservative should last years.

Ali, Joe and Simon continue to paint the cold frame lids that they started yesterday, the tops have now been done, just need to turn them over and do the underneath, another day of painting tomorrow and the job should be finished.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Sainsbury Building

Ady, Ali, Joe and Graham spent the day tidying all the balconies in the Sainsbury Building, clearing all the weeds from in and around the paving slabs as well as from all the large planters. A logistic nightmare, all the rubbish had to be transported in dustbins via the stairs, through winding corridors and empty rooms. Once finished, Joe hoovered the carpets, leaving no evidence the team were ever there.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Banana Flower

As you walk along the herbaceous border, you will come across an unusual sight, our hardy banana 'Musa basjoo' flowering. This is the first time this has ever happened in the college, fruit is highly unlikely, but the flower is a very welcome sight.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Strim It Down

The long grass in the bottom orchard now needs to be cut down, but first Josh needs to strim around all the fruit trees before the big Iseki ride on mower is brought out.
Ady, Graham and Simon spent the day cutting down shrubs and tiding the Sainsbury Building platform by lake, whilst Ali and Joe started bringing in stock plants to greenhouse due to a potential early frost warning.
Over the weekend, the college had another wild animal encounter. The wild beast, unidentified, was found in staircase 10 wandering around, once captured and a nasty bite given to its captor, it was taken to Tiggywinkles Wildlife Rescue Centre. It was identified as a Ferret and was sent to a Ferret centre for re homing.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Many Hands

Many hands make light work! A tray of 350 Viola 'Sorbet Mixed' plug plants arrived this afternoon needing to be potted up. Ali, Ady and Kieron joined forces and within 45 minutes had filled 15 plug trays with compost, re potted the young plants and watered them in.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010


Ali and Charlie were joined in the greenhouse by Joe to continue propagating the gardens tender plants. Methods used today were semi ripe cuttings, taken from this years growth, as well a spot of air layering on the Magnolia's outside in the grounds.
Whilst the three of them spent the day propagating, Josh and Adi finished painting preservative on the three large tool/machinery sheds, whilst Simon and Graham spent their day clearing another over grown garden ready for the weeds to be sprayed tomorrow.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Three White Men

Charlie has spent the day working with Ali in the greenhouse having a lesson on plant propagation. First the 200 wallflowers needed to be potted up into larger pots, then they walked around the grounds, with next summers display in mind, cutting pieces of tender plants to take back to the greenhouse to propagate.
Meanwhile, behind the shrubs and trees of the Nuffield lawn, three white men or is it wise men? were busy all day painting the sheds.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Weir Repair Finished

Having added 65 tonnes of clay, over 20 tonnes of top soil, faggots, coir rolls and a Terram liner membrane, the weir repair contractors have finished. The best job, however, is still to come, as the gardening team will have to landscape the banks by planting different marginal plants.

New Recruit

Today we have been joined by Charlie on a weeks work experience with the gardening team. His week starts with the cutting of the grass banks in the front quad, Charlie learns how to edge and sweep them down. His next job is working with Graham, sanding down one of the tool sheds ready for painting with a preservative.
Two out of the three sheds have already been prepared for painting, see blog entry 20th August 'Uncovered' and once Ady and Josh have got their painting overalls on the preservative is applied.

After a slight mishap with the paint, when Ady, not happy with wearing white, attempts to change the colour of his overalls by knocking the paint over himself, the job continues at pace.

Thursday, 2 September 2010


Ali spent the day attempting to rejuvenate an old, out of shape, Lavender hedge, at the same time trying to reclaim two foot of path that has been hidden by the aforementioned hedge.
Lavender is best pruned in late summer after flowering but does not break, regrow, readily from old wood so is often best replaced once out of shape and extremely woody. However, this hedge has been given a second chance, so armed with secateurs and hand shears, Ali attempts a pruning miracle, only time will tell if she successful.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Reduce The Height

Over the last few years various methods have been tried to make the cutting of the giant hedge easier. These methods have been ladders, scaffold towers and scissor lifts, all of which have helped us come to the same conclusion, that the hedge is too high.
To rectify this height problem, Phil from Sylva Trees has been called in to cut a meter off the height and bring it down to a safe, manageable height.

Joe, Simon and Graham assisted Phil during the day as the large cuttings were thrown down to the ground. He will return with his wood chipper tomorrow and reduce the large pile of clipping and take it away with him.