Monday, 28 February 2011

North Easterly Wind

Chilled to the bone, that's how the team felt after a day of pruning the roses in the Provost's Rose Garden. A bitterly cold north easterly wind, no sunshine and a highest temperature of just six degrees, but we managed to prune and feed all the roses.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Last Panel In

Day three in the garden and all that remained was the last panel and post to be put in place. The panel had to be cut to a width of 54 inches, thank you to Richard from the maintenance team for doing this for us. Once the last old post was removed and replaced the final panel was slotted into place, job done.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

All But One

The delivery arrived early this morning allowing the team to start the erection of the two new fences. Splitting into two teams, I don't think it was a race or a competition to see who could put up their fence the fastest or the straightest (or was it Simon?)

Simon worked with Joss and Ady (experienced in putting up fencing) whilst Kieron, master builder, worked with Ali and Joe (who had never put a fence up in their lives!)
Graham, who worked with both teams, also had the unenviable task of spending hours armed with the Kango chisel removing a three foot iron bar from three feet of cement, unfortunately it was in the exact spot a fence post needed to go, great work Graham.

By the end of another very industrious day, all but one panel and one fence post had been put in, but both teams had managed straight, level fencing, a draw I think. (Great experience and training for Ali and Joe too)

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

"It Was A Good Prep Day"

Apart from the upkeep of the college grounds the team also manage outside sites, one of which was in urgent need of our attention.

Over the years the fencing on both boundary lines of this property have fallen apart and in desperate need of replacing, but first the old panels and posts needed to be removed.

The old, brittle panels came down easily but the posts, well whoever put them in never intended for them to ever be taken out!
Pick axes, grab axes, spades and a Kango chisel, blood, sweat but no tears, were all used to remove the posts.

The posts were not the only thing to put up a fight not to be removed. An old tree stump also stubbornly held onto the ground with every fibre of its being until after an hour the team released from its stronghold.

By the end of the day, the team left with the garden prepared for the delivery of all the new posts and panels tomorrow morning, "It was a good prep day" Simon said as he closed the door behind us.

Monday, 21 February 2011

A Welcome Wet Day

Wet days are welcomed by the team, a chance to work inside, allowing us to complete tasks that are left for days like these.
Ady and Joss spent the day in the tool sheds adding more brackets to the walls to hang our tools in a more orderly fashion.
Joe, Ali and Graham spent the time repotting last autumns cutting from 3 inch pots to 1 litre pots, the hardier plants then moved to the Peach House.

One Down

This blogger, having spent three days last week under a duvet with the flu, returned to work. The work in the orchard has now been completed for another year, a large pear tree the last to be reduced in height with a number of branches removed.
Another job completed last week was the tidying of the Peach House. Joe and Graham spent a day preparing this unheated glasshouse for the spring, ready now for the first plants to be moved form the warmer glasshouse to start the hardening off process (acclimatising pampered plants for their move to the big outdoors!)

Thursday, 17 February 2011

A Year Has Passed

A year ago the team, plus three student volunteers, spent time enlarging the area of snowdrops on the Nuffield Lawn, see blog entry 'Snowdrop Day', 25th February.
A year has now passed and we are reaping the reward of our hard work with a stunning display of white underneath the Beech, Yew and Hornbeam, couldn't be happier with our efforts a year ago.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Year Three - Fruit Tree Pruning

Back in 2009 we decided to put into action a three to five year programme to rejuvenate and reduce the height of the apple and pear trees within the orchard. Now at the start of the third year, the height of the trees have been steadily reduced and our rejuvenated trees are producing more fruit than ever before. For the next week you will find us climbing up ladders and amongst the branches as we continue with our programme.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Fruit Tree Pruning

Chris from Waterperry Gardens came back to see us today, his purpose to refresh our memory on the principles and techniques used when pruning apple and pear trees. He has now been assisting us with our ongoing project to rejuvenate the orchard for three years and, once again, he was very pleased with our progress. Unlike the last two years when the sun shone on us, the weather was wet and windy, so with waterproofs on and umbrellas up we listened attentively to every word he said, grateful for his wealth of knowledge and experience.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Wires & Climbers

Between the Ruskin Building and the orchard is an old wall which separates the two areas. Having removed the mishaped, diseased peach trees last year, the team spent the day removing ivy from the wall and fixing new wires to it.
Once the wires were fixed in place climbers were planted and tied in at the base and, once established, should begin to cover the wall and eventualy produce a spectacular covering.
The climbers used were; Clematis armandii, an evergreen, spring flowering, fragrant, white flowered clematis; Akebia quinata, a fast growing, semi evergreen climber with fragrant cup shaped purple flowers; Vitis coignetiae 'Claret Cloak', an ornamental vine with large leaves turning red, gold and orange in the autumn; Vitis vinifera 'Purpurea', purple leaved grape vine producing small, unpalatable, purple grapes in the autumn.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011


Joss scarified the banks at the beginning of October, see blog entry 'A Wire Rake' 6th October 2010, now it is time to overseed.
This morning, a very foggy morning, Joss scattered grass seed over the banks to fill in the damaged, thinned areas, where the grass has not regrown. In a few weeks time the seed should germinate and the empty patches filled with grass again.

Friday, 4 February 2011

The Nursery Plot

Ali and Joe have spent the last two days working on the nursery plot. Having cut down all the untidy stems of the annual and perennial flowers grown for Simon's wedding, their next task is to fork over and weed. A big problem is the perennial weed, Bindweed, which is not easy to eradicate and however much we have tried, still persists, twining itself around plants in the summer and smothering them. Its roots are white in colour and very brittle, the smallest amount left in the soil will regenerate and grow again. The plot is now ready for the bamboo cane wigwams for the Sweet Peas in the summer, and we hope, a little or no Bindweed.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Two Years

Monday the 2nd February 2009 'Oh The Weather Outside Is Frightful', the first entry in the Worcester College Gardeners blog. The team spent the day spreading rock salt on the paths, clearing snow and throwing the occasional snowball.
For two years we have been keeping you informed of our activities as we go about our daily tasks in the upkeep of the gardens. We would like to thank you for your continued support and hope that you will follow us as we progress through 2011.
As can be seen by the photo, Joss has brought Dennis out of hibernation and spent the afternoon cutting the quad lawn for the first time this year, the two will be a regular sight from now on.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

The Last One

Having started clearing the area by the tennis courts yesterday, the guys are joined by Joe to continue the task. By the end of the day their task is complete and the border restored to its former glory.
Not far from the tennis courts, Simon and Ali focus their attention on the last border left to be cut down, the three small, slender borders in front of the Ruskin Building.
After a day of cutting and weeding, with a final blow through to remove any remaining debris, the last of the college borders is finished.