Friday, 30 May 2014

More Curves On The Quad Lawn

View From The Cloisters (Old Design, Right Corner)

The new curved design on the quad lawn was first seen at the beginning of May, see blog entry 9th May 'The Curves On The Front Quad Lawn', but they have been causing some concern to Joss with regard to their visibility from a certain aspect. From the right hand side of the cloisters, as you walk into the college, he felt that the new design had little, or no impact so improvements have been made.

New, Additional Curves (View From The Cloisters)
Starting from the adjacent corner, Joss has mown a new set of curves to improve the visual impact from the cloisters especially from the right hand side. Both sets of curves will be mown into the lawn throughout the summer, becoming increasingly prominent over time.

Both Sets Of Curves (View From Staircase 6)

An Brief Encounter With Three Young Goldfinch

The Wisteria 'Black Dragon', located on he terrace of the quad, has finished flowering and now putting on a growth spurt, producing long, whippy green shoots. These shoots are protruding out across the path and starting to cover the windows so need to be cut back. To reach the highest of these shoots, Ali climbed the large ladder, footed by Simon, and had a surprising, but brief encounter with three young Goldfinches. Unseen by Ali was a nest hidden amongst the wisteria and, as she went to cut one of the whippy shoots, got too close to its occupiers who, startled by this invasion of their space, jumped out of the nest, landing safely on the ground below. Not far off from fledging, usually between 13-18 days old, the Goldfinches were carefully picked up and placed back up in the nest, all this under the watchful eyes of the two adult birds who remained in the vicinity. 

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

The Large Plants Are On The Move

The large architectural plants are bursting out of the greenhouse roof desperate for more room to grow.

Extremely heavy and awkward to carry, it takes four of the team to carry each banana plant out of the greenhouse and load it into the waiting tractor and trailer for transportation to the herbaceous border. The unloading and planting is just as difficult, see blog entry 24th May 2012 'Five Strong Men' for photographs of how difficult it really is!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Planting Out Begins For This Year's Summer Display

Following their visit to the Chelsea Flower Show yesterday, the team return to work inspired and ready to create this year's summer displays in the garden. Joined by Danny, a new volunteer to the team, they plant up the border in the corner.  

The signature plants of the Worcester College displays, Banana Plants, are added, these three are the Red Abyssinian Banana, Ensete ventricosum 'Maurelii'. In addition to the bananas, another signature plant is used, the dark purple houseleek tree, Aeonium arboreum 'Schwarzkopf'. The colour of the under planting this year is similar to that of last year's, the warm colours provided by various Rudbeckia, see last year's blog entry 1st August 'The Warm Glow Of Rudbeckia'. (The team were happy with the display last year but felt it could be improved, so have tweaked it a little!). The Rudbeckia have been joined by Marigolds, Calendula officinalis 'Candyman Orange', Tagetes tenuifolia 'Golden Gem', Tagetes tenuifolia 'Paprika', Tagetes patula 'Yellow' and Tagetes patula 'Orange'.

Another border to be planted up today is the one found at the bottom of the quad, but before this could happen the wallflowers had to be dug up, the weeds and debris removed and the border lightly forked through. In the afternoon, and in the pouring rain, the plants, grown from cuttings and seed, were added to the perennial planting. (Why does it always rain when the team plant out this border?, see last year's blog entry 28th May 'In The Pouring Rain The Planting Out Begins').

The favourites, and mainstay planting of this border, are used again this year, Salvia 'Penny's Smile', Diascia personata, Plectranthus argentatus 'Silver Shield' and Osteospermum 'Purple Whirligig'. Other plants used, also favoutites, are Panicum elegens 'Frosted Explosion', Antirrhinum majus 'Royal Bride', Ammi majus 'Graceland' and Cosmos bipinnatus 'Sweet Sixteen'. New plants this year, not used before in the gardens, are Rhodanthe manglesii 'Swan River Mixed', Agrostemma githago 'Milas Snow Queen' and Lavatera trimestris 'Loveliness Mixed'. (Further plants will be added to both of these borders over the coming weeks but they are too small to be planted out at the moment so will remain in the greenhouse for now)

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

A Visit To The Chelsea Flower Show

On a lovely warm Wednesday, Ali, Simon, Kieron, Graham and Ady spent the day at the Chelsea Flower Show. Walking around the Great Pavillion and the many wonderful show gardens they were inspired by this year's planting displays and, most noticable to them, the use of Cow Parsley in many of the gardens, a plant that the team are forever digging out as it invades the college orchard! A wonderful day was had by all.

The Telegraph Garden

The Extending Space Garden

RBC Waterscape Garden

Help The Heroes Garden - 'Hope On The Horizon'
The Brewin Dolphin Garden

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Removing The Winter Display In The Corner Border

The winter display in the corner border has gone past its best so it is time to rip it out and prepare the area for the planting of this year's summer display.

Wallflowers, Myosotis and the West Point tulips were dug up and taken to the compost heap. The border was then forked through to remove weeds, levelled and, once the box balls had been lightly clipped, raked through to remove debris from the winter plants and the box clipping. The border is now ready for planting.

Monday, 19 May 2014

All Change In the Provost's Yard Pots

Seven months ago, 10th October 2013 blog entry 'Gone In Just 40 Minutes', the summer display in the Provost's yard was ripped out and replaced with the winter display, see blog entry 21st October 2013 'Planting For A Winter Display'. Today that winter display was ripped out and replaced by this year's display for the summer.

The wallflowers and bulbs have been added to the compost heap and all the evergreen, architectural plants have been heeled in for use next winter.

This year's summer display is not based upon foliage and texture, as with previous designs, but soft, pastel colours and repeat planting. The three small pots are planted with a pelargonium, variety unknown but the gardener's call it 'Bright Pink'. The three medium pots are planted with the variegated Swedish Ivy, Plectranthus coleoides and the purple flowered Salvia 'Amistad'. The large pot in the centre is planted with more of these three plants and a large standard of the Purple Glory Tree, Tibouchina urvilleana with its violet-purple flowers, see blog entry 30th September 2013 for a photograph of it in flower.     

Friday, 16 May 2014

Worcester's Wisteria

The winter pruning of the wisteria took place during early January, cutting the flower spurs back to two, three or four buds and removing any unwanted long shoots that grew after the summer prune (cutting back the long, wispy growth the plant produces after flowering).

Back of the medieval cottages, 28th April 2014
The first of the wisteria to flower were those at the back of the medieval cottages, closely followed by the two on the terrace in the quad. Last to flower, and putting on another wonderful display this year, are the wisteria that cover the railings at the bottom of the quad and the lower archway entrance to the Nuffield Lawn, a favourite for visitors to stand under to have their photograph taken.

Two on the terrace, 2nd May 2014

Terrace Wisteria, 2nd May 2014

Lower Archway, 15th May 2014

Quad railings, 15th May 2014

Quad railings (view from Provost's Garden),  15th May 2014

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Actinidia kolomikta

A plant that has caught visitor's attention over the last few days can be found on the sheltered, south facing wall at the far end of the herbaceous border. This striking foliage plant is Actinidia kolomikta. A vigorous climber, its twining stems are covered with heart shaped, deeply veined leaves turning white and pink, a stunning backdrop to the pink tulips flowering in front of it.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

The First Wildflower ' Fairy Toadflax'

Fairy Toadflax

Last September Ali and Joss started a project to introduce a wildflower meadow to the Fellow's Garden, see blog entry 26th September, 'Wildflowers In The Fellow's Garden'. Recently Ali has been seen kneeling down at the side of the area looking into the grass checking to see if any of the wildflower seed has germinated. Well, the answer is yes, the first wildflower is flowering, Fairy Toadflax, Linaria maroccana, with many more about to join it, a successful attempt to bring wildflowers in to the Fellow's Garden.   

Monday, 12 May 2014

Unwrapping The Banana Plants

The banana plants have been under a protective wrapping of horticultural fleece since the 6th November, see blog entry 'Wrapped Up Using A Butcher's Knot'.

With the weather warming up and the risk of hard frost diminishing, the bananas have started to break free from their wrapping pushing it upwards and bursting out of the top, signaling to the gardeners that it is time to be unwrapped.

Ali spent a few hours this morning removing the fleece and releasing them from the restrictive covering, they seem to be breathing a sigh of relief as the warm air encircled their leaves and trunks.

Friday, 9 May 2014

The Curves On The Front Quad Lawn

Joss has reduced the height of the cutting deck on the quad mower from 22 millimetres down to 18 and, with every cut, the old double width lines are fading and the new curved design on the quad lawn is getting stronger and stronger, as can be seen in these photographs.  

Thursday, 8 May 2014

A Day Of Maintenance

Raining for much of the day, Ady, Graham and Calum took the opportunity to catch up on some maintenance. They checked the tyre pressures and greased all the axle bearings on the wheelbarrows and trucks, filled up the machines with diesel or petrol, swept out the tool sheds, organised the tools, oiled the padlocks and even repaired a bracket on one of the shed doors, a very producive day in the rain.

Roses Grown On Rope

The rope that was tied around the ash tree beside the lake has rotted and is in need of replacing. The rope was put in place a few years ago for the vigorous, white flowered climbing rose, Rosa Cooper's Burmese, to climb up, without it the rose has collapsed.

A new rope was wound around the trunk and clipped into place. The rose and the vigorous, white flowered, Clematis montana grandiflora, planted last summer, were attached to the rope and now have a new support to climb the tree.

Across the path from the ash tree is a rope swag for another climbing rose, Rosa filipes 'Wilson's Worcester'. Planted with Clematis 'Rooguchi' with its purple, ribbed, bell shaped flowers and the purple flowered Akebia quinata, the Chocolate Vine, the old Holm Oak trunk is now covered, with the rose climbing along the swag to the neighbouring tree.