Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Potting Up The Cuttings

The first of this year's cuttings were taken on the 12 September, see blog entry 'Cuttings 2014' and having been out of the mist unit for the past few weeks are ready to be potted on.

The clump of cuttings are carefully tapped out of their pot and gently teased apart making individual plants.

These new 'individuals' are planted into their own pots and, by the end of the session, the 20 pots of cuttings have resulted in 216 new plants.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Wallflowers, Polyanthus and Tulips At The Bottom Of The Quad

The border at the bottom of the quad is well past its best so yesterday the task of changing it from a summer to a winter display began.

The team removed all the annual plants and took them to the compost heap along with the tender plants that were not being kept as stock plants. The perennial plants were also cut down and the shrubs pruned.

The border was then weeded, forked through and a layer of mulch applied to the surface to improve the soil.

This morning the team returned to plant out the border, 180 Polyanthus 'Bright & Breezy Mixed' and 210 Wallflower 'Sunset Primrose'. Some 200 Tulip 'Lily Flowered Mix' were also planted adding to the 300 that went in to the border last year.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Bulb Planting 2014

Last year the team planted 3410 bulbs around the gardens, see blog entry 31st October '3410 Bulbs To Be Planted',  this year it is only 2930! The vast majority are tulips but 1000 Scilla siberica were planted today beneath the trees in the middle of the Nuffield Lawn, adding to the bulbs planted there last year, see blog entry for the 21st November. The tulips being planted this year are 'Apeldoorn', 'Black Hero', 'Black Parrot', 'China Pink', 'Labrador', 'Mount Tacoma', 'National Velvet', 'Paul Scherer', 'Queen Of The Night', 'Shirley', 'Lily Flowered Mix' and 'Triumph Mix'. In addition to these bulbs a small number of Allium 'Purple Sensation' and Narcissi 'Jack Snipe' are also being planted.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Wallflower 'Sunset Purple' And Tulip 'Shirley'

On Monday the summer display was removed from the corner border and prepared for planting. Today Ali and Graham went back to the border and planted out 486 Wallflower 'Sunset Purple', rich purple fragrant blooms, and 200 Tulip 'Shirley', ivory flowers with a feathered purple edge.  

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Wrapping The Bananas In Horticultural Fleece and Hessian

As the end of October approaches, although there is no sign of frost being forecast, the team are taking no chances with the banana plants. The hardy Musa basjoo are protected with fleece every year but with the worry of a harsh, cold winter on the horizon, it's just a feeling in their bones, an extra layer, hessian, has been added over the top for further protection.

This year the less hardy banana plants in the herbaceous border, Ensete ventricosum and Ensete ventricosum 'Maurelii', which are now too large to get in the greenhouse and too heavy to dig up, have also been left in situ and covered in the hope that they too will survive through the winter. As with the Musa basjoo, the giant leaves have been folded down around the trunks, then a layer of horticultural fleece wrapped around them with hessian over the top.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Removing The Summer Display From The Corner Border

1st August 2014

The Besse Courtyard and Pump Quad have already had their displays changed so today the team turned their attention to the Corner Border. Fading fast, following a very dry September and October, the border, that was planted out on the 22nd May, blog entry 'Planting Out Begins For This Year's Summer Display', was in need of a change.

The annuals were dug up and taken to the compost heap. Two of the large architectural plants, that were too big to dig out using brute strength and spades, had to be dug up using the New Holland tractor with the grab attachment.

Carefully manoeuvred by Simon, guided by Ady and Danny, the largest of the bananas was gently lifted out of the soil and taken to the greenhouse for potting up.

The box balls and cornus were left in place to add structure to the new winter display. Weeded, forked through and mulched the border is now ready for planting later in the week.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

All Change In The Besse Courtyard


Earlier this week the team began bringing in the tender plants that had been part of the Pump Quad's summer display. Yesterday it was the display in the Besse Courtyard that was broken up and replaced with winter evergreens. Cuttings have already been taken of the pink pelargonium and Plectranthus coleoides so, apart from two plants of each that have been kept as stock plants, the rest were taken to the compost heap. The Tibouchina urvilleana and Salvia 'Amistad' were taken to the greenhouse for over wintering.

Before replanting the soil in the planters were checked for any signs of vine weevil, clear thank goodness! Leaf mould was then mixed in with the compost and the evergreens planted, Ilex crenata (Japanese Holly), Ilex aquifolium (Common Holly), Mahonia eurybracteata 'Soft Caress' (Plant of the Year at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2013) and Mahonia x media 'Winter Sun'.

This morning Tulips were added to the planters, Tulipa 'Black Hero', and in the remaining spaces Wallflower 'Sunset Bronze', Polyanthus 'Bright & Breezy' (orange, yellow and white mixed) and Ivy 'Parsley Crested' were planted. 

Monday, 13 October 2014

Breaking Up The Pump Quad Display

10th June 2014
10th October 2014
It is that time of year again when the team start to break up the summer displays and replace them with those that will remain in place until the end of May 2015. Today was the turn of the plants in the Pump Quad, particularly the large central display.

Having matured well since the display was created, see blog entries for the 3rd and 4th June, 'Hiding Large Plant Pots' and 'Plants In Pallets' respectively, the large specimen plants were brought back to the greenhouse for winter storage. The pallets, a lot heavier than when they left the greenhouse, were returned to be broken up and the plants repotted in to individual pots.

Friday, 10 October 2014

The First Cut Of The Banks

The damaged grass

The Flymo mower has been gathering dust in the tool shed since it was last used on the 12th August, see blog entry 'Mowing The Banks For The Last Time, (For A While Anyway)'. The grass has now grown sufficiently since it was sown last month, 15th September, blog entry 'Grass Seed And Horticultural Fleece' so the Flymo has been dusted off and brought back into action. Unfortunately this morning, before the team could begin the first cut, someone had slide down the banks ripping out some of the month old grass. Hopefully it is not too late in the season to repair this damage before the winter arrives. "PLEASE KEEP OFF THE BANKS!"


The first cut

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Welcome To Worcester Freshers 2014

The gardening team cleaned out the trailers and wheelbarrows in readiness for the annual arrival of the freshers. Today is the day for all the new students 'Freshers' to arrive at the colleges of Oxford University and the gardeners spent the day helping them by transporting their possessions to any rooms furthest away from the car park. "Welcome to Worcester" from the gardening team.

Monday, 6 October 2014

From Nursery To Portakabins


The development of the former Ruskin College site by Exeter College on Walton Street, behind the nursery/orchard area of Worcester College, is continuing at pace. The old building has been knocked down, apart from the old 1913 facade which will be incorporated in to the new design. How does this effect Worcester? The answer is reflected in the following series of photographs. The nursery area has been leased to their contractors for the next two years and has been undergoing a transformation since the beginning of September.

Simon and Ali cleared out their two vegetable plots, the result of the 2012 nursery reclamation project, see blog entries 31st March 'Weeding, Levelling And Measuring' and 16th April 'The Nursery Is Reclaimed', to make way for the temporary cold frames for the next two years.

Once the temporary cold frames were in place the old frames were emptied ready for development of the nursery site.


By the end of September all that remained of the frames were the cement bases that had been done last year, see blog entries 22nd August 'Cementing The Cold Frame Floors' and 25th September 'Another Concrete Cold Frame Base'. The site was now ready for the arrival of the seven portakabins that came in yesterday. Walton Street was closed for the day and the portakabins delivered by crane over the top of the cottages and in to the old nursery area.

The Gardener's Tea Shed V Portakabins
The transformation is now complete, from nursery to portakabins, which will remain in place for the next two years.