Wednesday, 21 December 2011

A Very, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

After a very successful and productive year, the team are now having a well deserved rest to recharge their batteries to return on the 3rd of January 2012 for another gardening year.
Winning gold in the Oxford In Bloom for the 'Best Display for a College or University' in a year of the college ball was just one of the many highlights.
A big thank you to all those who have visited our gardens and for the many positive comments we received from you, we are truely grateful.
We thank all our readers for following us on our blog and look forward to your company in 2012.
Have a very, merry Christmas and a happy New year.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Getting A Head Start

With the warmish weather still with us, the team have started to prune the wisteria, campsis and roses in the front quadrangle along with completing the pruning of the grapevine in the Pump Quad.

The weather has enabled us to start the pruning of the climbers early, usually started on our return after the christmas break, see blog entry 10th January 2011 'First Day of Many', therefore enabling us to get a head start for 2012.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

New Team Photo

Slightly later than usual, here is the new photo of the Gardening and Grounds team.

Hedge Reinforcement

The hedge that runs along the canal has a few gaps in it and is in need of some reinforcement. Ali, Kieron, Graham and Callum spent the morning planting 94 40-60cm whips, young, bare rooted saplings, usually one year old. The variates planted were 'Crateagus monogyna', 'Ligustrum ovalifolium', Euonymus europaeus' and 'Corylus avellana'. (Hawthorn, Privet, Spindle and Common Hazel)

Monday, 12 December 2011

Feeding and Protecting

It may look like a giant oil slick on the Nuffield lawn and has prompted a number of questions as to why it has appeared, well there are reasons behind it.
Over the years the soil has gradually been eroded and compacted under the trees as we remove the autumn leaves through leaf blowing and the suction from the ride-on-mower. As the soil level has dropped some of the snowdrop bulbs have started to show and the removal of the leaves takes away the natural food source for the trees.
The team spent the day topping up the soil level with leaf mould which will feed the trees as the worms draw the leaves down and improve the soil for us, at the same time, protecting the bulbs.
As well as feeding the trees, the dark mulch will be the perfect back drop for the many hundreds of snowdrops that will appear in February, or maybe January if the warm weather continues.

Friday, 9 December 2011

A Little Extra

On Monday the oak pots in the Provost's yard were replanted, however, a few gaps were left until we bought a few more plants.
In one of the small pots we had planted a Cornus alba 'Kesselringii' which looked rather bare on its own. To this we have now added Hebe 'Mrs Winder', a compact plant with oblong dark green leaves, purplish shoots with brown purple midribs and Bergenia 'Overture', a clump forming perennial with fleshy, claret coloured leaves.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Working With Mother Nature

It may seem the wrong thing to do in very strong winds, but Ali and Callum spent the morning using the leaf blowers and forks to get the leaves out of the ditch.
Sometimes you have to work with Mother Nature, it is much easier than going against her. The trick was, when using the blowers, to wait for the wind to blow in the right direction, blow the leaves up out of the ditch and allow the wind to take the leaves to where they needed to end up.
Occasionally though, Mother Nature would play a trick on them and, at the last minute, switch the direction of the wind and blow them straight back at them, covering them in dirt and dry leaves.
Whilst Ali and Callum were playing with, or was it working with the leaves, Graham and Ady were planting 300 tulip bulbs in the newly enlarged bottom border. Mixing three varieties, Attila (Purple), Burgundy and China Pink, they planted them in groups, marking their location with canes for when the herbaceous plants are added to the border at a later date. Another stunning display is expected.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Rusty Bikes and a Shopping Trolley

Starting yesterday with the clearing up of leaves and the chipping of woody material in the Canal Building courtyard, the team returned today to complete the tidy up. Overgrown shrubs and a beech hedge needed to be trimmed as well as the removal of ivy, rusty bikes, piles of soil and stone, numerous Ash tree and Elder seedlings, moss and even a shopping trolley.
By the end of the day, following numerous trips to the skip with several tonne bags of rubbish, the clear up is complete and the courtyard is tidy once again.


An apology from this blogger.
It has been brought to my attention that I have, by mistake, turned off the means for you to make comments about our blog entries. This has now been rectified and you should now be able to comment on our activities. We do enjoy reading your comments and look forward to reading them in the future.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Oak Barrels Replanted

Way back in February 2009 the team took delivery of nine oak pots for the diplay in the Provost's Yard, see blog entry 'The Oak Pots'. Along with a number of specimen plants, a Eucalyptus coccifera ( Tasmanian Snow Gum) and Liquidamber styraciflua were planted in two of the pots.

Two and a half years later these two trees have grown too big for their pots and have had to be removed and replanted in the college grounds. The Eucalyptus is now in the herbaceous border and the Liquidamber in the lakeside border.

Now that these giant trees have been removed from the pots, smaller shrubs and trees have replaced them for a winter display.

The shrubs used to make this new display are:

Cornus stolonifera 'Flaviramea', a common Dogwood with bright yellow-green winter shoots;

Cornus alba 'Kesselringii', a red barked Dogwood with blackish purple winter shoots;

Cornus alba 'Elegantissima', a red barked Dogwood with red winter shoots;

Mahonia x media 'Winter Sun', with dark green, sharply toothed leaves and arching clusters of bright yellow, fragrant flowers;

Ilex aquifolium, the Common Holly with spiny leaves and red berries;

Ilex aquifolium 'J C van Tol', a Holly with almost spinless, ovate, glossy dark green leaves with bright red berries.

These new displays will remain in place until June when our summer display will replace them.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Sold Out

All 482 bottles of the Worcester College Apple and Pear juice have been sold. Thank you to everyone that has supported us again this year and bought the juice.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

The Mulching Moves On

The mulching moves on to the winter border following the completion of the broadwalk yesterday. The silver leaf margins of Euonymus fortunei 'Silver Queen'; the tiny, fragrant, creamy-white flowers of the Sarcococca confusa; the clusters of small, white flowers of the Fatsia japonica; and the large number of snowdrops will all be enhanced by the rich, black mulch background.