Thursday, 31 July 2014

Giving The Wisteria A Summer Prune

The many wisteria in the college gardens are pruned twice a year, summer and winter. Having provided a wonderful display of flowers in May, see blog entry for the 16th 'Worcester's Wisteria', it is time for the summer prune.

The plants are putting all their energy in to growth, producing long, wispy shoots, a number of which have found their way in through windows. Ali and Callum spent the day pruning this young, rampant growth on two of the wisteria, bringing them back under control, for the time being. The long shoots were cut back to five to six leaves, any further shoots that grow will be cut back in the winter prune in January.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Pricking Out Wallflowers and Sweet William

Sown on the 16th July, the wallflowers and Sweet William are now ready to be pricked out in to their own individual cells. The 180 wallflower seedlings will join the 690 wallflower plug plants, due from Ball Colegrave in the coming weeks, creating the winter/spring display in the college borders and pots for 2014/15. The 60 Sweet William seedlings will be used in the cut flower bed.  

Friday, 25 July 2014

Colour Returns To The Provost's Yard

The display of pots in the centre of the Provost's yard were moved four weeks ago to make way for the instillation of two Tercentenary Ball canopies, three were pushed to one side and four taken away to the Ruskin Building. The yard has remained empty, grey and devoid of colour since the pots departed but today they returned, banishing the grey and bringing back the colour back with them.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

The Trimming Of The Long Box Hedge Begins

The continuing sunny weather has caused the delay in the trimming of the long box hedge that runs the entire length of the orchard. Trimmed in June in previous years, and usually the first hedge to be cut, the team have been unable to start trimming it as exposing the foliage to the sun causes it to scorch. Today, however, a window of opportunity was provided by a morning of slow moving cloud, giving enough time to trim the first part of the hedge. More cloudy days are needed in order for the hedge to be completed, but none are forecast during the coming week, so the trimming of the hedge still needs to be finished. 

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Two Banana Plants (Musa basjoo) In Flower

Walking along the path past the herbaceous border, take a look at the Musa basjoo, banana plants, and you will see a sight not seen since 2010, see blog entry 15th September 'Banana Flower', two plants have produced flowers compared to just the one four years ago. Flowering a lot earlier than last time, two months earlier in fact, it is hoped that the fruit bracts, although small, will be seen this year having enough time to develop before the first frosts, but, unfortunately, they are not edible. Both the trunks will die after producing the fruit but offsets are already growing around the base to replace them.

Monday, 21 July 2014

The First Bunches And Posies

The plants in the cut flower bed that were planted in June, see blog entry for the 10th June 'Cut Flowers For The Summer' are now starting to produce sufficient blooms to make the first few bunches and Posies. The plants are: Sunflower 'Irish Eyes', Sunflower 'Teddy Bear', Zinnia elegans 'Giant Double Mixed', Antirrhinum majus 'Apple Blossom', Antirrhinum majus 'Royal Bride', Antirrhinum majus 'Orange Wonder' and Panicum elegans 'Frosted Explosion'.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Clematis 'Etoile Violette', 'Black Prince' and 'Rooguchi'

Clematis viticella 'Etoile Violette'

A number of Clematis have been planted around the college gardens since last autumn and are putting on a wonderful display during their first summer.
Against the wall, at the bottom of the quad, Clematis viticella 'Etoile Violette' is producing a copious amount of single, deep purple flowers with a cream centre.

Clematis viticella 'Black Prince'

Around the corner from the quad, through the lower archway on a south facing wall, Clematis viticella 'Black Prince' is producing a large amount of almost black flowers amongst the yellow and crimson flowers of the Abutilon megapotamicum.

Clematis 'Rooguchi'
Walking down towards the lake, the old Holm Oak stump has a new addition too, Clematis 'Rooguchi'. The flowers are bell shaped, deeply ribbed, a rich shiny purple in colour with silvery-purple edges.
So many flowers produced in their fist year, more Clematis will be added in the coming years to the gardens. 

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Bringing The Waves Back To The Privet Hedge

Continuing the hedge trimming that started last week, Kieron cuts the second largest hedge in the college gardens, the privet in the car park.

Privet, fast growing, is usually trimmed two to three times during the growing season but was last pruning a year ago, see blog entry 18th July 2013 'Hedge Cutting In The Heatwave'. In the heat again, and having to carefully work around an immovable car, Kieron spent the day bringing the waves back to the privet.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Summer Pruning The Grape Vine

The grape vine in the Pump Quad is growing at rather a rapid rate, leaving the support wires behind and pointing out from the pergola in all directions.

In order to keep the vine compact and tidy Ali gives it a summer prune. The long, non flowering laterals are pruned back to four or five leaves and the shoots, containing the newly developing grapes, are shortened to two leaves beyond the truss of fruit, allowing a greater exposure to sunlight.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Hedge Trimming Begins In Earnest

The hedge trimming has begun in earnest this week. The team usually start cutting the many college hedges in June, but the start has been somewhat delayed by preparing the gardens for the ball which was held a few weeks ago.

Callum and Joss started off the hedge trimming season on Tuesday, Joss with the large yew hedge along the Provost's drive and Callum with the small privet hedge outside one of the college's properties.

Simon joined them today by trimming one of the other yew hedges that border the car park. The team will spend the next month working their way around the college grounds until the last hedge is cut.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

The Loss Of Two Princeton Elms

Not only have the gardens lost the beautiful tree 'Chitalpa tashkentensis', see yesterday's blog entry, but two Elm trees have had to be cut down recently. Following heavy overnight rain on the 26th May, the team, upon their arrival the following morning, were greeted with the sad sight of one of the Princeton Elms having been badly damaged.

The damage caused by the heavy rain meant that the tree had to be cut down immediately. This loss, along with one of the other two remaining Princeton Elms which was dying, leaves just one of these Elms in the garden

Following their removal, the roots were ground out, leaving two empty tree circles in the lawn where they once stood. Joss spent this morning repairing the lawn by changing the circles to squares, filling the areas with top soil and laying turf on top before setting up a sprinkler to water the newly laid turf in.  

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

The Removal Of A Leaning 'Chitalpa Tashkentensis'

The Chitalpa tashkentensis, Desert Willow, has been gradually leaning further and further out of the border, with the greatest movement occurring last night following the heavy rainfall. Having assessed the risk to visitors, students and staff it was deemed too dangerous to leave in place, unfortunately it was just about to flower, see blog entry 2nd August 2013 'Chitalpa tashkentensis'.

Simon and Ali, having made the decision, set about cutting the tree down, leaving a small stump in the border in the hope it will reshoot.

After The Ball

All signs that the Tercentenary ball that was held at the college last Friday have almost all gone, just the safety barriers, a number of large tarpaulin, a deflated inflatable 'Ministry Of Sound' marquee, a few portable toilets, Grundon bins and the odd pallet or three remain. Where they once stood, the marquees have left their imprint on the lawns, large light green areas of grass deprived of sunlight for a week. With no rain forecast over the next few days, Joss has set up sprinklers on all the affected lawns to give them a thorough watering and help bring them back to a healthy, dark green colour again.