Tuesday, 31 July 2012

446 Seedlings


Whilst the guys were reducing the height of the box hedge, Ali and Graham were in the greenhouse pricking out seedlings from the seeds sown on the 2nd July, see blog 'Seeds For Winter' 2012/13, and germinated by 6th July, see blog entry 'Quick Germination'. 446 seedlings were pricked out by the end of the day, Wallflowers 'Sunset Bronze Shade', 'Sunset Primrose' and 'Sunset Purple', Pansy 'Plentifall Blueberry Frost Mixed' and Pansy 'Panola XP Purple'.

Five Feet Lower

Last year I wrote that Kieron and Ady cut the hedge on the junction of Walton Street and Beaumont Street using the high reach hedge trimmer, see blog entry 'Hedge Trimming' 13th June 2011. In order to make this annual job less hazardous to our team and passers by it was decided this year to reduce the height of the hedge by 5 feet. Kieron was joined by Joss and Simon to do the hedge cutting, but this time more equipment was needed, ladders, hedge cutter, loppers and, most importantly, a ball of string. A nice, sharp lined, easy to manage, box hedge was the result by the end of the day.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Charity Garden Open Day

This afternoon the college gardeners, supported by a team of volunteers, opened the gardens in aid of charity. The funds raised from the entry, plant sale and cake sale will be donated to the gardeners two chosen charities are The Cystic Fibrosis Trust and S.S.N.A.P (Support for Sick Newborn And their Parents). Following a brief shower before opening time, the sun shone, one further quick, heavy downpour didn't dampen the day, and for three hours they welcomed the few hundred visitors to the gardens. A lovely afternoon was had by all, so many positive comments from our visitors, and lots of money raised, thank you.
The photographs below were taken by May Chan, Wilkinson Junior Research Fellow, Assistant Dean Worcester College.

Welcome to Worcester College Gardens

The Cystic Fibrosis Trust & S.S.N.A.P

The Cake Sale Stand

The Front Quad

The Machinery Display & Plant Sale Stand

Ali On The Plant Sale Stand

The Nuffield Lawn

Friday, 27 July 2012

Vine Weevil Damage

Now that the temperatures have reached ridiculously high levels this week, 30 degrees centigrade, the display pots are in need of regular watering. One pot in particular drew Ali's attention, a wilting plant despite the regular watering. Looking like it was wilting, Ali knocked it slightly and hoped it wouldn't fall over, well it did, and that means only one thing, the dreaded Vine Weevil!

Three little grubs had been feasting on the roots until there were virtually none left to support the plant, hence the appearance of wilting.

The pot will now have to be treated with Provado Vine Weevil Killer 2, a liquid drench applied to the compost. This drench should give protection against the grubs for a few months controlling the young larvae and preventing further damage to the remaining plants in the display.

Things That Go Bump In The Night

On her arrival in the nursery area this morning Ali noticed a large number of feathers in the greenhouse that were not there yesterday. Having only swept out the greenhouse yesterday something must have gone bump in the night. Upon further investigation, and the sound of broken glass under foot,  Ali noticed one of the panes had been broken from the outside in. Along with the fox droppings next to the feathers, bringing the three separate pieces of evidence together, and using her detective skills learnt from watching too many episodes of C.S.I (Crime Scene Investigation), she concluded that an unfortunate pigeon must have flown into the glass resulting in an easy meal for the resident fox that has a den not five meters away.  

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Charity Garden Open Day Preparations

With the charity garden open day fast approaching the team are working hard to get everything ready. Graham and Ady spent the morning washing the tractors ready for display whilst Kieron made sure that the pop up gazebo did exactly what it said on the packet.

Once the pop up had popped up and popped down again, he finished making the eight bird boxes that will go on sale on Sunday. The lawns will be cut and edged tomorrow, plants dead headed in the borders and display pots, and the finishing touches made to the gardens to make our charity open day a success.

Monday, 23 July 2012

33 Box Balls

Box, Buxus sempervirens, is traditionally clipped on Derby day, the day of the Epsom Derby, during the first week in June. As can be seen by today's date, 23rd July, we are slightly late. Ali was given the task of clipping the 33 box balls located in the Ruskin Building courtyard, 30 in the Serpentine Border and 3 on the neighbouring Black & White Border. Starting after tea break she managed to clip 13 of the box balls with the hand shears, and with a stiff back and sore arms, she will be back again tomorrow to finish.  

Thursday, 19 July 2012

New Warning Signs

Joss spent the day cutting the tallest hedge in the college. As can be seen in the photograph, he had placed one of our new signs to warn passers by of his hedge cutting. The new foldable, easy to carry, lightweight 'Road Works' sign comes with three supplementary plates; 'Hedge Cutting', 'Grass Cutting' and 'Tree Cutting', so we shall be warning people when doing these activities in future.

No Swan Count

The pair of swans arrived on the college lake back in March and stayed for three months until the end of June. During this time the swans managed to crash land in the Fellow's Garden and on the front quad lawn, having to be captured and returned to the lake.
Where our swans have gone we don't know, but hopefully they will return next year. If they flew onto the River Thames between London and Abingdon they would have been counted as part of the annual census of the swan population, the historic ceremony of Swan Upping, but for the first time in 900 years it has been cancelled due to the flooding in parts of the river. The Crown retains the right to ownership of all unmarked mute swans in open water, but The Queen only exercises her ownership on certain stretches of the Thames and its surrounding tributaries.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Slugs and Snails

With all the wet weather this year the slug and snail population has exploded, in fact they can be found all over the garden, getting larger and fatter after every meal. Feeding on the college garden plants there is a constant battle between the gardeners and the ever hungry mollusc.

Juggling The Waterproofs

Waterproofs on, waterproofs off, on, off, a day of heavy scattered showers meant the team were continually trying to stay dry and then trying not to overheat. In between all the juggling with clothes they managed to do some work.

Starting at the end of the Broadwalk they worked their way down the lakeside border cutting back all the overgrown shrubs, hoeing off the weeds, cutting overhanging tree branches and raking the path to finish.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Britain In Bloom

Today our gardens were visited by the judges from Britain in Bloom as part of Oxford's entry to this years competition. Oxford last entered the Royal Horticultural Society contest in 2007, winning the small City category back in 2002.

We now have to wait until September to see if we have helped the City of Oxford triumph again.

Eucomis vandermerwei

Eucomis vandermerwei

This lovely little plant is not outside but in a small, terracotta pot in the main greenhouse so I thought I would share it with you. From South Africa, Eucomis vandermerwei, is a tiny, speckled leaved, dwarf Eucomis with pineapple shaped, burgandy flowers, just 6 inches tall.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Catalpa speciosa and Impatiens tinctoria

Catalpa speciosa
Two beautiful, orchid like flowers can be found next to each other by the Nuffield Building.
The first of these is on the Indian Bean Tree, Catalpa speciosa, beautifully fragrant, white frilled flowers with a purple speckled and yellow blotched throat.
The second is on the perennial plant, Impatiens tinctoria, growing 6 feet tall with sweet scented, large white flowers with a red streaked throat.  

Impatiens tinctoria

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

A Poor Year For The Roses

Rain, followed by rain and then more rain has resulted in a poor year for our roses in the rose garden. The roses are of the old fashioned variety and do not repeat flower, flowering just once so today Ali, Callum and Ady started to dead head all the faded, wet, rotten and mouldy flowers, many were buds that failed to open after getting wet. Due to the many hundreds of failed flowers they will be back in the garden to finish the job, in between the scattered showers due over the next few days.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Cucumber 'Zeina'

The five cucumber plants in the tomato house are starting to produce the first crop of delicious, sweet, juicy, small cucumbers. When thumbing through the Thompson & Morgan catalogue, choosing our seeds for the year, the description drew our attention, 'Cucumber ‘Zeina’ is an excellent smooth-skinned hybrid cucumber, specifically bred to provide lots of mini cucumbers that are best harvested when 20cm (8") long.  This RHS AGM variety is suitable for indoor and outdoor cultivation'. Judging by the vast number of flowers and tiny cucumbers still to come, these five plants should keep us supplied with a delicious crop all summer, a highly recommended variety.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Charity Open Day

The gardening team at Worcester College are pleased to announce our charity open day on Sunday 29th July 2pm-5pm. Funds raised will be donated to our two chosen charities S.S.N.A.P (Support for Sick Newborn and their Parents) and The Cystic Fibrosis Trust. We look forward to seeing you. 

Quick Germination

Sown on Monday, the wallflower seeds have already germinated and the trays have been brought out from underneath the glass and newspaper onto the glasshouse shelving. Once the first true leaves have emerged, (the second set of leaves that emerge after the tiny seed leaves), the seedlings will be pricked out into their individual pots.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Non Refundable Deposits

The Sainsbury Building platform has been slowly disappearing under a thick layer of duck deposits, and the ocassional feather!

Graham, kitted out with boots, protective overall, gloves, face mask and face shield, spent the morning power washing all the deposits off, and the feathers.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Let There Be Light

The large Robinia in Dead Squirrel Alley (so named by the gardeners due to a deceased rodent found in the walkway) has been casting shade over the small walk through that connects the Ruskin Building and Gloucester House and the Earl Building.

Today the gardeners made the decision to remove the lower limb that has been making the area very dark. As can be seen from the photographs, the walkway is now bright as light floods in on the area.